Datta’s ambitious story is hard to pin down to a single genre, given its persistent theme of love connections fused to the central concerns of time travel and artificial intelligence. While some sci-fi diehards may be disappointed by the numerous romantic sidetracks, Datta’s wide-ranging interests set the novel apart from the pack—the thrilling plot is as expansive as it is gripping, swinging from complex deconstructions of science and technology to literary musings on language and intricate references to classical music.
There are times when this expansiveness is overwhelming, inundating readers with excessive details, especially as that circuitous plot goes down intriguing—and occasionally inscrutable—rabbit holes, such as two-way consciousness transfers between humans and machines alongside detailed descriptions of hand watches and time fixers. In spite of this, Datta’s first Time Corrector novel succeeds in holding adventurous readers in thrall with a fast-paced storyline, a strong narrative voice, and polished prose that often is touched with beauty. Lovers of love stories and science fiction with literary ambition will enjoy this engrossing–at times challenging–read that delivers a welcome balance of both.
Takeaway: An expansive, genre-bending story for readers craving romance combined with gripping sci-fi.
Great for fans of: Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler's Wife, Jack Finney’s Time and Again.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B
“The book is both intriguing and meticulously executed, and Datta is skilled when it comes to employing the time-travel tropes. The near-future technology is conceivable, the concepts of Artificial Intelligence and physics are plausibly presented, and the suggestion of time-turbulence fascinates. An intelligent, transporting time-travel tale brimming with music, ideas, emotion, imagination, and possibility. This is a stunner.”—The BookView Review
“An engaging SF tale whose cause-effect plotline takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Datta’s formidable mainsprings of deep thought, causality, horology, music, and shameless romanticism help set up this first installment of an SF series. It is not a time-travel novel that trades in pulp thrills and fighting Morlocks. The book is closer to Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) in dealing with matters of the heart. But just when readers might have the plot strands all decoded, a concluding twist and a surreal-vision finale turn the storyline into a dense, snarled mesh of gears and escapements."
“Avi Datta spins an intricate and inventive sci-fi narrative that engages the mind and merges several interesting themes: loss, love, politics, fantasy, martial arts, orphanhood, friendship, racism, artificial intelligence, and more. The Winding moves back and forth in time as it juxtaposes the young with the mature version of the protagonist. Told through a first-person perspective, the story does a fantastic job of portraying the emotions and thoughts of the protagonist through a comprehensive internal dialogue. I could relate with Vincent and his attempts to improve his chaotic relationships.” —Foluso Falaye for The Manhattan Book Review
“The Winding captures you from the first page and keeps you hooked until the end. This feels like a solid start to what seems to be a promising sci-fi series. Vincent is the most fleshed-out character, and his storyline makes you root for him all the way to the end. … The narrative switches between the early 90s and 2024, and you find yourself glued to the pages as the reveals keep churning out with each turn of the page.”— Pikasho Deka for Readers’ Favorite
“A story that pleasantly teases your ability to grasp and perceive information with every flip of the page… With a gripping and engrossing plot, Avi Datta adopts a complex style of writing, presenting his thoughts and ideas through random flashbacks and digging back and forth into the story… Time not just as we know it, but time that is painted in all its glory from the very beginning until the end, turning back on itself until the circle is complete.”—Keith Mbuya of Reader’s Favorite
“Avi Datta has a unique take on alternate realities. He keeps a well-tempered jargon to sustain believability in a highly speculative topic, and it works because he complements it with good pacing and tight plotting. His characters spring to life because his narrative includes their preoccupations and what motivates them to do what they do. Intricate but not confusing, Datta’s grasp of time turbulence is a well-researched aspect of the story that conjures up the plausibility of time travel in a future that we may not live to see. This is the kind of sci-fi story that like-minded readers will talk about in their circles for its intelligent plotting, stunning imagery, and larger-than-life characters. And for that, The Winding is an absolute must-read.” —Vincent Dudlado for Readers’ Favorite
“A compelling, extraordinarily readable book…Datta skillfully uses usual time-travel tropes mixed with the elements of an alternate reality, but where this book really shines is in its cleverly constructed plot and immaculately drawn characters. The narrative shifts between the present day and Vincent’s past. Between careful attention to Vincent’s development, Akane and Emika’s chapters, and the near-constant jumps through time, the story charges along until Datta brings it all together. The cliffhanger ending will raise readers’ fervor for the next installment. Fans of morally serious hard SF will be greatly rewarded. Datta is an author to watch.”—The Prairies Book Review