I want to state something before I go any further. THIS ISN'T MY NORMAL READ. The reason why I decided to read this was because the publisher (Inside Pocket - a small indie publisher) facebooked me and ask if I would be interested. Now, after I did some fast research on the book (which looked mad and a bit kooky on the book's website), I agreed to read it. I got the book at the end of December/beginning of January in a bright green envelope (best way to make an impression with me. That or give me something shiny).
So, I hear you ask, why did it take you so long to read? Well... I've been in a dark reading phrase. And whenever I tried to sit and begin to read Justin Thyme, I couldn't get past the first few pages. I had to get out of my reading phrase and, after reading The Iron Witch, I felt I had come out of my dark YA reading blitz so I grabbed Justin Thyme and sat down with it.
So, the book. Justin is a self-made billionaire and he's just turned thirteen. On the morning of his birthday, someone anonymously gave him a watch. And from then onwards, events spiral out of control. Is it because Justin is researching time travel or is something more sinister afoot?
Like I said before, this isn't my kind of read. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I think the main reason that I hit this middle ground is because there's a lot to understand and get your head round. There were times I was going, “Wait! What? A computer-literate gorilla? Time travel? A man who might be Grandpa Lyall with amnesia but he might not be? A gardener who either very Scottish or is faking that accent? An eight-legged cat?” (one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book) “The Loch Ness Monster? What?!”. Once, I was reading it and a Victoria Woods sketch of daytime TV came to mind (see below - around the 3 minute mark). There's was just a lot thrown at you within the first ten or so chapters.
But once it hit its stride with Justin's mother – Lady Henny – being kidnapped, I wanted to know if she would be found in time. Plus, you have Mrs Kof (cough drop, anyone?) and Justin's sister, Robyn, which kept the humour going. Another thing I liked about this book was that it wasn't just a novel. Once you finished it, you didn't just go “Done!”, there were puzzles in it so you had to go back and find them and solve them. The last page (at the very end, past the appendix and note pages) hurts my head. And, when the spy within Thyme Castle was revealed, there were footnotes that pointed the reader to the page where you go back and go “Oh! That's why he/she reacted that way!”
Now, there is something that I have to forewarn you over if you're going to read this. It's the first book in “The Tartan of Thyme” series and, because of that, there are several huge-ish (well, to me) questions left unanswered. So, if you're not going to read the whole series, you might end up throwing the book across the room.
But to me, it was a fast read. And if you want a book that isn't just a book but a brain workout, Justin Thyme might be the book for you...