The Time Servers’ realm is fantastically innovative and richly detailed. Byrd creates a colorful, alluring setting brimming with magical places and objects. Time Server City is populated by familiar fantasy creatures distinguished with inventive twists: unicorns are beautiful but snobby, fairies wear pin-striped suits and are known for their fairness rather than their magic, and giants, far from being threatening or slow-witted, are brilliant inventors who create ingenious tools. But despite its welcoming whimsy, the Time Servers’ society is surprisingly nuanced, with problems and prejudices that add to its realism.
The book is brimming with characters, enough that readers may find it challenging to keep track of them through the story’s complex twists and turns. However, each is carefully crafted with unique characteristics, like Time Server Eutychus’s kindness and silly sense of humor and Haven’s deep desire to do the right thing–and her relatable fight to keep from giggling when awed by the Museum of Time. Her struggles to choose the correct path add moral complexity into this action-filled story. The vibrant world Byrd has created will no doubt appeal to fantasy readers of any age, and its thought-provoking conflicts add deeper dimensions to this imaginative tale.
Takeaway: Fun and full of heart, this offbeat fantasy finds action, mystery, and a hidden realm–in the junkyard.
Great for fans of: Tara Sims’s Timekeeper, Roshani Chokshi’s Aru Shah and the End of Time.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A