I have heard a lot of hype about this book online and, to be brutally honest, I don’t think that “All Our Yesterdays” deserves it. The characters were boring and full of mind-numbing clichés. The central theme of time travel wasn’t explored or explained nearly as much as it should have been, and the dystopian setting was not described in depth. As a reader, I wanted to know more about the time travel and more about the characters. I was disappointed on both counts.
Although I believe that this book would benefit from less fruitless action sequences and less relationship-building scenes (where the plot didn’t develop at all), I cannot deny that “All Our Yesterdays” was interesting enough to read to the end. Despite the flaws in characters, themes and setting, the book was well written: romantic in places, humorous in others. Terrill has the ability to tell a story in such a way that the reader doesn’t even notice that they are reading; a skill to be envious of.
The climax, unfortunately, was disappointing and predictable. All in all, this book was an average read that had the chance to be spectacular. It is sad to say, but “All Our Yesterdays” was not the mind-blowing, addicting read I was promised.
This book is the second instalment of the explosive Jack Malaney series, and I think it was a tremendous success. The story follows straight on from the first novel – “The Baltic Triangle” – but there are brand new dangers, brand new faces and brand new action sequences to take one’s breath away.
Usually in literature, the middle book in a trilogy is identified by its vast amounts of character development. Clark certainly didn’t disappoint. In “Deadly States”, readers are given the opportunity to learn more about the protagonist: Scottish superspy Jack Malaney. Through the use of extensive flashbacks and snippets of Jack’s astonishing history, we learnt about Jack’s ethics, morals, fears and even love life. His past is intriguing, but even more intriguing for the reader interested in character development is the way Jack reacts to his dramatic past. The thoughts and feelings from the protagonist were invaluable in this book; the way Jack was explored as a character definitely made the story intoxicating to read.
What really sets this book apart from other spy novels is the unorthodox plot. All the loose ends from the first book were tied up in “Deadly States”, and characters (as well as a few unfinished storylines) from “The Baltic Triangle” leaked into its sequel. This unusual tactic of having the first book blur into the second really works to Clark’s advantage. It’s different, it’s new, it’s thought-provoking – especially for readers bored with the mindless violence usually found in the spy genre.
As well as having a memorable plot and buckets of character development, this book was fraught with history. It provided a startling insight into 1990s South Africa and was factually interesting. For once, history did not equate to boredom! Conspiracy theories and outlandish, villainous plots played a heavy role in this novel, and Clarke explored the intense political themes of freedom, dictatorship and democracy with a masterful ease.
“Deadly States” is a definite step up from “The Baltic Triangle”. The prose (when it is mistake free) flowed very well. The action scenes were explosive, the dialogue, in some places, humorous. Aside from the numerous typos, I can see nothing bad about this book, its characters or its convoluted plot. And the ending, of course, was an absolute shocker. I would thoroughly recommend this series.