4 out of 4 stars
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There are good books that make you feel content after reading. There are great books that make you want to read them again and again. And then there are books that stop you right in your tracks, make you question yourself and re-evaluate your choices. Worse still, you don’t even feel like taking up another book for a long time afterward.
The Watchmaker’s Doctor by G.M.T. Schuilling makes the third category without any doubt. Minutes after receiving a watch from her patient Greg, a speeding van almost ends Anaya’s life at the age of thirty-five. At the last moment, the watch rewinds, making her go back in time to the moment she got the watch. Offered with a second chance at life, Anaya agrees to go back eighteen years. This time around, she is determined not to repeat the wrong choices she made last time. But as her choices change, so do the consequences. How will they affect her or those closest to her?
Time travel is one of the most popular themes in the science fiction genre. However, this book combines with it different twists that make the story more intriguing. For example, going back and choosing to attend college might help Anaya build her career this time around, or her Bipolar II can be diagnosed earlier and treated accordingly. These choices might prevent the downhill turn her life took the last time, but she might have to pay the price in other ways. Who can tell?
Aware of her second and final chance, Anaya’s dilemma is palpable. On one hand, she tries to enjoy life to the fullest. On the other hand, she feels too cautious lest she should repeat her past mistakes. In addition, the knowledge of that final moment when her heart will inevitably stop makes her emotions all the more complex. To the author’s credit, the reader feels similarly affected by an emotional upheaval, relishing one moment, dreading the next, all the time debating if the choice to come back was wise.
Even within a short span, the characters are well-developed. Anaya, a thirty-five-year-old ‘teenager’, is understandably mature. Other aspects of her characters like bravery, intuition, and a conscientious nature are also reflected. Her parents and friends are compassionate and supportive. Even Greg’s character takes an unexpected turn at the end that puts the entire novella in a new light.
A crisp but poignant read, this book made me ponder for quite a while. How many of us can claim to have lived without regrets? If a second shot at life were possible, would we be willing to take it, or should we be content with our old life and all its imperfections? And even if we choose to go back, what unforeseen complexities might arise this time? I absolutely love books that make me think, and this one was one of the very best among them. I especially loved the personification of time and the clever inclusion of the famous myth of Alexandria's Genesis.
I could not really find anything to criticize in this book. Although the end left me with a few unanswered questions, those would probably be taken care of in the next books of the series.
This novella deserves nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. I did not find a single grammatical or typing error, so it seems to be professionally edited. The Watchmaker’s Doctor would appeal to anyone who loves science fiction, adults and young adults alike. But even if you are not a fan of that genre, you can still pick this book up if you are open to a thought-provoking read.
The Watchmaker’s Doctor
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