4 out of 4 stars
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Timewise is a novel expertly penned by Robert Leet, an engineer and author. The story opens with a young Ron Larson playing chess. He is an orphan who bounces around between foster homes and is smart, but not really studious. That is until he encounters a woman named Regina, who changes the course of his life forever. The text spans decades of Ron’s life as he eventually continues through extended higher education and beyond into his adult life. Along the way, he stays connected to Regina, even as his life pulls him in different directions. I treasure the way Leet crafts Ron’s progression through life. The way that characters come and go from his life and his highs and lows of success feel so relatable as a reader. I was shocked to find out this was Leet’s first book because it seemed so well written and edited!
Leet has an exceptional command of vocabulary and writing techniques. His use of remarkable similes and pleasing alliteration enhance the reading experience immensely. These also help to play into beautiful imagery. I felt the book came alive with sentences like, “I would not grasp her intent until later, as if her words needed to crawl around my skull until they found a place to land.” The cherry on top was the vocabulary used. It is not so sophisticated that the average reader would not comprehend it, but it adds a level of sophistication to the text. Words such as, “metamorphose” or “gesticulating” really made it an alluring read. All of this elevated writing was accompanied by fantastic editing.
Leet seems to be very in touch with how life works. What I mean by that is, he can take a character in which I have almost no discernable relation to, and make it relatable to me. For instance, Ron is a mathematician who is very passionate about his work. I hate math. I do, however, feel the way Ron feels towards math for theater. I was able to experience what Ron felt even though I have absolutely no interest in math. The text is also very witty and conversational at times, while other times it is extremely scientific and structured. I appreciated the juxtaposition of the types. I also found the book causing me to really think about what it was saying on a deeper level. One such example is, “I think everyone should enjoy what they do, but often we go beyond that we act like we’ve created ourselves, but we haven’t. We’re born; we have abilities; we learn to use them. This is what I do and what I want to do”.
I have very few complaints about the book. The few I do have are pretty significant though. This novel becomes very dense with physics and mathematics that I consider to be far beyond the average readers grasp of these complex ideas. I understand that some of it is inherently necessary for situations that come up in the book, but I think that it could have been dealt with more effectively. The book was also a bit long, and I think that examining the sections mentioned above and editing out some of that text would really benefit the novel. I did find it interesting, however, that I started to dread Regina's conversations with Ron as much as he did! I found the relationships of the story so much more compelling and wish Leet had laid focus there. I also was not exceedingly fond of the ending, which is always a bit of a letdown. It felt incomplete to me; I wanted more. That being said, if there were a sequel in the works the ending would make a lot more sense to me.
Even with these complaints, I very much enjoyed reading this book. I would very eagerly read future books by Leet if he continued writing. I wholeheartedly rate Timewise a 4 out of 4 stars and would recommend it to pretty much anyone who enjoys superb writing. It is listed as a sci-fi book, and rightfully so, but it really is so much more than that and has something to offer those readers who do not usually enjoy the genre.
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