Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Anubis Gates

Academic Brendan Doyle is hired by a wealthy entrepreneur to be a guide on a time travel trip back to 1810. Things go wrong right from the start and Doyle is stranded back in the 19th Century. He struggles to survive while trying to find a way back to his own time, but gets caught up in the actions of an oddball collection of characters ranging from body-switching murderers and immortal Egyptian sorcerers, as well as rogue elements from his own time. Doyle soon realizes that history never works out quite the way it seems, yet somehow remains precisely the same.
First of all, I have never liked time travel stories. I’ve never been entirely certain why, but part of it may have to do with the obsessions many people have about time, but also because I think it’s a cheesy concept for entertainment. Don’t have any ideas? Tell a time travel story! It creates a whole new plot without using an original idea.
So you can understand that I approached this book with some unease even though I always try to start a book without preconceptions. I have to say I admire Powers’ restraint in the matters and questions raised by the idea of time travel. He put a unique spin on the concept without beating you over the head with it. Powers’ main focus was on the characters, in particular Brendan Doyle. He is a completely average person who happened to have both small and profound impacts on history without actually changing anything.
The author’s characters also happen to be the weak point of the novel. I couldn’t bring myself to care what happened to any of them. None of them really stood out at all or made me feel any real emotions. The Anubis Gates is a good book, but I’m afraid it’s a bit bland.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.


RedEyedGhost said...

I still can't believe you didn't love this one. But I guess if your not a big fan of time travel, then a book that so fully focuses on it won't be that enjoyable.

I'm kind of the same way about books without "likable" characters, but the more I read, the less I need overtly likable characters. I think The Prince of Nothing was one of my big turning points, Altered Carbon would be another example for me.

Benjamin said...

Hey REG. Actually, I didn't mind the time travel too much since Powers was careful not to overdo it.

I don't always need likable characters either but for some reason the story just didn't "grab" me. Maybe I'm just weird, I don't know. :-)