Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cover Love AND Review: The Wells Bequest

I can not tell you how much I love the cover of The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman. I was therefore excited when I realized I was planning on scheduling the review for the same day as Cover Love. I decided I would gush over the cover and the contents at the same time.
Cover Love is hosted by Bookshelvers Anonymous and is for the purpose of sharing the love of amazing and wonderful covers.

 The picture of the cover is pretty amazing, but it's nothing to the beauty of seeing it up close. The colors are deep, rich, and gorgeous. I just adore the details too. How Leo is in motion, because he always is. And Jaya standing there so determined and fierce. Then there's the clock and the shifting city around them. Love. Love. Love

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!
His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!

"Would you really want to live in a world where only the possible is possible?"
Shulman introduced the New York Circulating Material Repository and its special collections in her novel The Grimm Legacy, a book I thoroughly enjoy and find to be tons of fun. The Wells Bequest is even better. It is a true companion novel and not a sequel. If fairy tale fantasy isn't your thing, but science-fiction is you can read this on its own.

Leo comes from a family of scientists. He is not going to be a great scientist in the traditional sense. He is a tech geek and does amazing and creative things with tech. When he discovers time travel is possible via seeing himself doing it, and with a gorgeous girl no less, he starts shifting his creative scientific brain in that direction. This leads him to the Repository where he is astonished to find the girl he saw with him when he time traveled. Jaya Rao is tenacious, determined, and creative. Readers of The Grimm Legacy will recognize her as the 10 year old little sister of Anjali-now a teen page herself. The intervening years have only made her more stubborn and lively. I loved watching the friendship and partenership between Leo and Jaya develop. They make a spectacular team. He needs someone to motivate his innate brilliance, she needs someone to inject some caution into her frantic headstrong rush through life. I enjoyed the dynamic between the two of them tremendously.

I also enjoyed how the whole time travel element was dealt with in the story. When Leo first starts to contemplate time travel he is desperately afraid he will mess up things up, disturb the timeline of history in horrible ways. What is interesting about the time travel devices is that they all act the way they do in whatever work they came from, making the Wells machine the most powerful and dangerous, because in it you can alter anything and cross your own timeline. I love how the possible paradoxes and consequences are discussed in theory, but not in an overly technical or boring manner, and what is important isn't the the theory but the actual result. 

The plot is fast paced and engaging from start to finish. It is a fun story full of adventure, action, and just a touch of romance. This is a perfect read for anyone who loves being caught up in a good time-travel story. 

I sincerely hope that we will be getting books from Ms. Shulman about the two other special collections at the Repository, the Lovecraft Corpus which houses the paranormal, and the Gibson Chrestomathy which houses cyber technologies. The want factor for this is pretty high for me.


  1. Ooh, really interesting cover! I was intrigued when I saw it, but now even more so after your review. Yay for fast paced but not TOO confusing :)

    1. It's the perfect combination of twisty action without being weighed down in details.

  2. Ooh, purple-y! And time travel! And Tesla!

    1. It's MG so not your usual thing, but it's certainly fun.

  3. I am not all sure I am ready for the Lovecraft Corpus. But I did enjoy this one tons too, and definitly want more!

    1. I think Shulman would make the Lovecraft Corpus fun, but I do think I would prefer the other first.