So I picked up The Rewind Files as part of the Read Harder Challenge, number 2 on the list being an alternate history novel.
Reader, it was so delightful. I read it in two giant gulps because I loved the world, the stories and the characters. It was such a wonderfully crafted narrative which made it effortless to read.
So, what’s it all about then. Well, it’s the future, year 2112, and time travel has been invented. There were a lot of shenanigans before it became apparent that the general timeline needed to be protected. As such, the US Time Travel Bureau is one of the agencies that protects the world from deviations from the general timeline. But as we discover, the timeline has been mucked about with, causing World War Three. And what has been mucked about with? Watergate. It never happened. Nixon was a two term president. I MEAN. DELIGHTFUL. What a wonderful hook.
The main plot revolves around uncovering what would become Watergate from the perspective of a 22nd century agent, and then trying to make sure it happens to correct the timeline. This is what hooked me on buying the book in the first place. But that turns into a larger plot of why Watergate doesn’t happen, so we’ve got a double whammy of mystery and intrigue. I also loved the simplicity of the world building, so the gadgets are always practical and useful, but not over the top. It’s a believable world, even though there’s time travel. I think I got an extra kick as I’d been to Washington a few years ago, including a visit to the Watergate, so I had all the images in my brain.
However, even though that plot is wonderful, the characters are what really make this novel an absolute treat to read. I love Regina Bellows to bits. I loved her irreverence and snark, she made the story come alive. I adored the critiques of sexism from a 22nd century woman having to go undercover in the Nixon Whitehouse. The rest of the supporting characters were also just a joy to read. From Reggie’s mother, to another undercover Agent named Carter, to the indefatigable technical competence of Calliope. They were all so complete as characters, all having a wonderful wit about them and their own special skills.
I just love having a really great, fun, book to read that has a wonderful plot and world building. I usually forgive a lot for a funny book, but I don’t think there’s that much to forgive in this novel. Potentially the only thing is the convenience of having the Bellows family at the centre of the plot. But really, that is such a minor quibble that I don’t think it is even one.
The FEELS at the end though, MY HEART. Did not see that coming, so bittersweet.
Basically, this is a wonderful book and you all should read it. Normally I’m not a huge fan of alternate history books, so thank you Read Harder Challenge for bringing this absolute gem into my life.