Much like with his previous book The Fold, Peter Clines’s new book, Paradox Bound, sucks you right in from the very beginning as we are introduced to our main character, Eli Teague, who meets a woman three times during his life – as a kid, teen, and adult – while she never seems to age at all. But that’s because she’s a time traveler.
While Eli only saw her for short moments in time over his young life, the woman has become an obsession for him in her steampunked Model-A Ford, as he wonders when she might show up in his life again. He lives in Sanders, a dead-end town that feels like it hasn’t changed a bit in fifty years. When he meets her as an adult, in her now familiar revolutionary garb and tricorne hat, he won’t let her go and finally gets taken under her wing and made her time traveling apprentice.
In this world there are old, forgotten roads that if you ride them just right and skid through at just the right point, you can fall through time. There are a number of these time travelers all with the same goal in mind. They are looking for the American Dream. Because it was stolen during the 1960s. And whoever finds it can fix their life and make this world a better place. The problem is there are also the guardians of the American Dream who are looking to get it back, and will attack anyone traveling through time, because they’re a threat and a risk.
In many ways Paradox Bound might be considered the quintessential American novel, as its characters are all literally searching for the American Dream in a riveting, exciting chase across the country and its history. Clines keeps the pace going and the reader hooked, wanting to know how it’s going to end. For Neil Gaiman fans, Paradox Bound could easily be considered the American Neverwhere, as it is in many ways an equally good novel.
Originally written on November 20, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.
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