Time Siege, by Wesley Chu, is the second book in the Time Salvager series. It picks up right where the first book left off. James Griffin-Mars and his allies are still on the run from corporate security and Chronocom, the organisation he used to work for. At the head of this hunt is Kuo, the relentless security head who must hunt down James and capture Elise Kim, the scientist James brought back from the past.

Time Siege follows several characters, all of which have their own interesting journeys and struggles. James can’t time travel anymore and begins to feel useless. His dependency on alcohol reaches a crescendo and we witness the damage an addiction can cause. This particular storyline is incredibly moving. It will certainly resonate with anyone who has had experience with addicts or alcoholism. I found James’s struggle moving and harrowing to read. I really did feel for him after a while. This character has fallen quite far since we last spent time with him.

The focus of Time Siege surprisingly shifts to Elise Kim as she becomes the heart of the story. Elise is carrying a lot on her shoulders throughout the book as she desperately tries to find a cure for the Earth plague, while also leading the Elfreth people as they search for a new home. She is also struggling to hold her little family together as she becomes a substitute mother to James’s time-rescued little sister while dealing with his substance abuse.

Watching Elise grow from the nervous stranger out of time, to a bold and brave leader who fights for her people and embraces her new life and responsibilities was awesome. She’s a fantastic character and I love how real and honest her emotions are. She has moments where everything threatens to overwhelm her and finds courage when she needs it. There is still more to come from Elise I’m sure, but her story is left quite open at the end of this book, presumably to reach a climactic finale in book three.

Like all of Chu’s books, we get to spend some time with the bad guys too. Kuo’s frustration at not completing her mission escalates to some truly outrageous and hilarious moments where Kuo loses her temper Kylo Ren style and you feel her anger as she tries desperately to impress her superiors while being constantly let down by subordinates. It’s a little hard to sympathise with her though as she is brutal, unforgiving, and completely compassionless. This all stems from the system she is part of and I did find myself hating the corporation as she felt more like an extension of their will, as opposed to a rogue agent or extremist.

The final showdown between Kuo and James is epic, but not quite as grand as the final fight in the first book. This fight is more personal, more visceral, and more emotional. Chu writes a good bad guy, but Kuo, in this instalment didn’t live up to some of his other villains for me.

Time Siege has a great cast of supporting characters. We see the return of Grace Priestley, the mother of time, who is just as good this time around as she was in the first book. She fills the role of wise old sage perfectly, as well as providing some laughs.

We have Levin, James’s nemesis from the first book, return as an ally after James convinces him that the system he defended was corrupt. The dynamic between the two men is great. There is a lot of history between them and seeing them become allies in this book was something I didn’t expect but found I enjoyed once it got going.

There are some new characters added into the story that I won’t spoil here, but suffice to say, they make a great addition to the roster. I’m sure that as the series progresses into book three they will become integral, but I enjoyed their introductions here.

The focus of Time Siege does shift when compared to the first instalment. Time Salvager features time travel heavily in the narrative. We spend a lot of time jumping into different time periods, but in Time Siege, we spend the majority of our time in the present (or future depending on your point of view).

The story has escalated and now the key events are all happening in the present day. The world has been established and the pieces placed on the board. Time Siege is focused on the future and how it will be defined. The theme of corporate greed is still tied into the narrative quite heavily, and is evolved to incorporate a kind of class warfare as the poor and nomadic tribes of Earth, (specifically Manhattan Island) band together to fight the superior might of the corporate war machine.

It won’t come as a shock that I loved this book. Chu proves once more that he is a master of worldbuilding, expanding upon the already rich universe he introduced to us in Time Salvager. The pacing is fantastic, moving between plot threads effortlessly and hopping between characters fluidly. The characters are all very well developed and we see some serious emotional conflicts arise as a result of character growth here.

I will say that this definitely feels like a “middle book”. The plot is advanced a respectable amount, but it all ends with the main threads unresolved. I definitely had the immediate urge to read the next instalment as soon as I finished this. If you’re the kind of person who has to read a series back to back, you might want to hold off on this until the third book is within sight. That’s not to say don’t read it, but this series is so good that it already pains me having to wait to read the final instalment.

I can only speculate and get excited about where things are going to go. One thing is for sure; you can guarantee I’ll be there on launch day diving into that third book. If you like sci-fi and you appreciate good time travel, you owe it to yourself to read this series. The Time Salvager series is one of my favourites of the last few years and this book only solidifies that position for me.


By Stephen Rhodes

Stephen is a small town boy from Blackpool in the North West of England. His primary function is being a script writer in the video games industry, working on numerous Triple A and indie titles alike. His secondary functions include fiction writing, Dungeon Mastering, reading everything, and playing games. You can see more of his ramblings on Twitter at @Rhodes_Writes or check out his website www.rhodeswrites.co.uk.

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