by Michael Bowler
published by Outskirts
Michael Bowler’s A Matter of Time is a combination adventure/sci-fi/horror/romance. Even though the characters are in college, it definitely works best for a YA rather than NA audience.
Jamie Collins has always been a bit a dreamer, which is why he is totally content at Santa Clara University majoring in English where he takes many creative writing courses. When not in class, he spends his time watching sci-fi movies with his best friend Jay, or hanging out with his roommate, Dan, and Dan’s sister, Maggie. Everything changes, though, when he starts to dream about a vampire stalking a young man on a ship. Soon, Jamie realizes that everything that is happening physically to the mysterious young man, is happening to him. It takes Jamie a little longer to learn who the young man is – Jack Phillips, the chief wireless operator onboard the Titanic. Jamie realizes that he must have been Phillips in a past life, but no one will believe his about that or the vampire. To make matters worse, the one person who might believe him, Jay, is not talking to him after getting dumped by Maggie for Jamie, who did not even know she like him. With his life spinning out of control and the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking fast approaching, Jamie books a trip to Newfoundland to charter a boat to take him to meet up with the Titanic. Dan, worried for his friend, tags along, but believes Jamie is completely crazy for thinking he can jump timelines in the middle of the Atlantic. Jamie, however, does, and the Titanic exceeds his dreams. Desperately trying to save Phillips and the rest of the passengers by stopping the vampire, Jamie does not have time for love, but it finds him anyway. Will changing the past change the future? Jamie does not know, but he knows he must try.
A Matter of Time was two unique story concepts – a vampire causing the sinking of the Titanic and a young man who can travel back in time because he is the reincarnation of someone onboard the Titanic – smooshed into one. Either one could have been outstanding on their own, but together, they made for a muddy read. Also, Jamie was not the most endearing character. Many of his actions seemed too immature for a college junior of today, much less one from 1986 when the story takes place. Plus, some of the exposition just did not make sense – mainly the rooming situation. First, if Jamie and Jay are best friends and Jay does not get along with his roommate, why are he and Jamie not rooming together, but rather Jamie is rooming with a freshman. On top of that, Maggie is storing her stuff in Jamie and Dan’s room because campus housing had no place for her, yet the school year is three-quarters of the way over, and she has obviously been living somewhere. These points may seem trivial, but they easily through the reader out of the story, as does the head-hopping that happens all too frequently.
I have read a few novels from Michael Bowler, and I have to say, A Matter of Time is not his best. On a positive note, though, I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Landon’s narration of the audiobook. He captured the highs and lows of the story perfectly.