[BLOG TOUR] ARC REVIEW: Loop by Karen Akins

[BLOG TOUR] ARC REVIEW: Loop by Karen Akins
Loop
Loop #1
by Karen Akins

Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: October 21, 2014
by St. Martin's Griffin

Format: eARC

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At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Time-traveling has never been as fun.

I’ve always loved time traveling, ever since I read a romance book that had it as a central theme many, many years ago. The possibilities are just endless, you know? Who wouldn’t be fascinated with going back in time, and then possibly affecting the past that would eventually change the future? I mean, I myself would want to change a lot in my past… I’d kill to go back in time, shake my past self silly, and go, “Why didn’t you study for that exam?! Why did you have to eat so many salty potato chips that your kidney had to be affected?!”

Oops, wait, that wasn’t supposed to be disclosed…

In any case, I’ve always wanted to read a time travel book again, but since that book, I haven’t really found anything that satisfied this craving of mine aside from Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays, and that was a year ago (which in book blogging years sounds like… a lifetime ago. Seriously) . When I chanced upon Loop by Karen Akins, I could hear wedding bells ringing in my head. I mean, sure, I was a bit hesitant at first (crashed and burned too many times, baby. You become cautious after a while), but the other positive reviews just strengthened my resolve.

I’ve finally finished it this morning, and while I wasn’t completely enamored, I certainly was entertained. Dude, I don’t always laugh while reading books, but this one made me chuckle more than twice!

First, let’s talk about the narration style. It’s fun. It’s told in the first person perspective of Bree Bennis, a Shifter from the future who can travel through time. She undergoes missions all the time from her school, but a recent accident involving her mother forced her to accept a shady mission from this dude called Leto (the name itself already gives me that “he-is-not-to-be-trusted” vibe). From then on, she commences a meaningful journey (and a mystery) that takes her across time and space (man, that sounds way cool).

The main reason this novel is fun is because the main character can be fun and it shows a lot through the narration. She’s funny, reckless, can be self-deprecating in an honestly awesome way that you won’t feel guilty laughing at her jokes, and she’s even sarcastic to boot. You’ll never get bored reading the book because she always has something to say that would make you snort (in good humor) and giggle. What’s even better is that even though she is this way, she has her moments of weaknesses and self-doubt, too, making her a really relatable character. When she thinks of her mom, when she thinks of her friend, Mimi, when she thinks about all the web of lies she’s in because of her predicament, when she ponders about the bad treatment she receives from other people due to what happened to her mother… these instances fleshes her character out and gives her a lot of depth.

Although I have to say, there were moments she annoyed me, too. Yeah, she’s funny and adorable in her own way, but goddamn, when she’s being secretive to Finn (the love interest) about certain things using lame excuses like, “I was trying to protect you!” I would feel my blood boil because not only is that cliché as fuck it’s rather overused, too, and only leads me to feel the conflict is dragged and unnecessarily so. The icing on the cake was when other characters had important information for her and she refused to believe them on the basis that they were “impossible to happen”, and I’m like, “WTF DUDE INSTEAD OF PUSHING THEM AWAY WHY DON’T YOU HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY?!”

Other than that, it’s not really uncommon for me to love and hate a main character the same time… I’m just really nitpicky in general. *bows head in shame*

As for the science part and the explanations of how the world and system works… let’s just say… they are pretty confusing. I’m not sure if I’m just slow in picking up the pieces or what, but I just couldn’t 100% get it. There are some “We don’t really understand how this works but it is what it is and we just accept it!” and there are some explanations that seem to go around in circles. Honestly, I think this aspect was the weakest (the world-building in general) because it just doesn’t make it simple for the reader (especially with all the references to the Chicken-Egg thing) and it’s simply just the most confusing thing ever. I shit you not that I can’t count the number of times I scratched and tilted my head trying to understand what the hell did certain explanations mean. Sometimes, I look at them paragraphs and the words start swirling around. I am not kidding.

The same can be told about the mystery. It’s easier to understand than the world-building, but since it also depended on the world-building and the explanations of how time-traveling and stuff worked, it was a bit muddled to me as well. And all the revelations were disclosed in one big reveal near the end, and were mixed with some of the heavier time-travel explanations, so it kinda resulted to one huge mindfuckery (in a really… confusing, confusing way). Hopefully, things will be clearer in the second book…

The romance is pretty good, though!  If you like the “hate-then-love” trope, you’ll find yourself having a treat. I felt the development between the two lovebirds was realistic and sweet; you can really see and feel the moments that happened between them that would justify the eventual romantic feelings they’ll have for each other. Their banter and interaction can be great and funny, and I found myself looking forward to scenes that have both of them in it. Plus, Finn is an awesome character! He’s not there to just be the love interest; he has his own role in the grand scheme of things and provides great insight that would help the main character in her quest to find the truth.

All in all, it was a very decent first book to a promising time-travel series. The characters are awesome (oh, the best friend character was hilarious! She was a sweetie pie through and through), and the romance is a treat, but I was left not as satisfied when it came to the world-building and mystery. Despite the problems, however, I see a lot of potential in this series and I am definitely looking forward to book 2. (Plus, who wouldn’t want to read more about the nerd who finally gets the girl?! Yee-haw!)

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 3.6
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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    Oooh! I had this one on my radar and was curious about it. You definitely bring up some things I’m excited about, and some that worry me. I agree that the best time travel book that comes to mind from recent history is Terrill’s so if this reminds you of that at all, I’m excited! I also am always a sucker for romance, so that is a positive, but I do not like the “I’m trying to protect you excuse,” especially if it leads to unnecessary drama that could be solved by a simple conversation. I also struggle with a book that has elements I can’t understand, so I’m a bit worried that the time travel aspect was tricky to discern. However, over all this sounds like something I’d like to read!

    • FayeFaye says

      I’m glad to see that despite the worrisome factors you found some things to like and look forward to this book. And yes, All Our Yesterdays really leaves a mark into everyone… I’m glad it was written and serves as a standard now to what time travels are supposed to be, quality-wise. Haha. I don’t like that excuse either! It’s just so annoying really overly cliché like you wouldn’t believe.

  2. says

    FAYE YOU ARE BACK WOW ITS A MIRACLE!

    oh man I so badly want to read All Our Yesterdays, I LOVE TIME TRAVEL. But it just sucks that some books just don’t get it right. Time travel is a really hard topic to write about, BUT STILL. Anyways, I’m actually not sure how I feel about Loop? Like it sounds good! But then again I’m a huge fan of worldbuilding, and if it’s not up to par, then down goes the rating. I may or may not try this, but if I see it I will!

    AWESOME REVIEW FREYRRRRRRR :D :D <3 <3
    Valerie recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #29My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I KNOOOW! I’m just glad to be back. I missed blogging and reading so much, and I’ll make sure I come back with a BANG!

      You really should read that book. It’s awesome in every sense of the word. Definitely THE time travel in the YA demographic, second to none :P Yeah, if you’re a fan of awesome world-building, not sure if you’d like it… but still give it a try! Maybe it will all make sense to you, the stuff that didn’t to me haha.

    • FayeFaye says

      Awww, I love that you actually made a rhyme for me, darling ^_^ I know, the complications really made my head hurt but the rest of the factors totally made up for it.

  3. says

    I may have liked it a bit more than you did, especially the plot part. I also thought the world building was actually decent compared to some time travel books that I’ve read. I agree that there were parts that were confusing though. I liked the romance, but I wanted a teensy bit more. Bree was a great character though and I’m excited for more in this series.
    Lovely review, Faye! I missed seeing your reviews around! :)
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (91) : Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine & Siren’s Fury by Mary WeberMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, you have read this, Nick?! I’m pleased to know that you liked it more than I ever did. I mean I still liked it, just not completely in love with it. Haha. Hopefully the romance will continue to blossom in the future books! And thank you, dear. I miss talking to you, too!

    • FayeFaye says

      It is promising! I’m glad that you like time travel books, too! The majority of the people I know aren’t really too keen about it. Haha.

    • FayeFaye says

      Ooooh, what’s the title of the French book? I can read French so I can definitely understand it :P Haha. Thank you, Melliane :3

  4. says

    Like you I have always been fascinated with time travel books and there just hasn’t been any that have blown me away. I read All Our Yesterday last year as well, and when you mentioned how long ago, I was like WHHHHHAAATTT! Time sure has flown by. I also started the Tempest series by Julie Cross and I have to say there aren’t a bad read whatsoever. But I’ve so looking forward to Loop for ages, especially since it’s a female time traveler which is rare sometimes I have to say. And the cover is just gorgeous, so I really can’t wait to read this one. Great review, Faye! :D
    Emma @ Never Judge a Book recently posted…ARC REVIEW – ROWDY by Jay CrownoverMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Wheeee, time traveling buddy :3 I’d love to go to hte past with you if ever the chance arises one day :P Haha. I knooow! I can still remember reading that book and being blown away by its sheer awesomeness. I’ll give Tempest a try someday. I remember Aimee mentioning it once and saying it was decent, so that’s a good enough reason for me.

  5. says

    Faye! It’s been a while. Sorry I haven’t been around commenting on your your blog lately; school is a real killer. T_T But anyway, your review was as informative as always! I hadn’t heard of Loop before this, and even though I probably wouldn’t have given the book a second glance after seeing the cover (romance-oriented sci-fi books just aren’t really my thing, lol), I’m kind of curious about it now. :D Bahaha, time traveling would make things sooo convenient but so troublesome at the same time. Like, WHAT IF I MET UP WITH THE “PAST” ME? Though, it would cool if that happened, sorta…

    Oh my gosh, Bree sounds just like my kind of protagonist. Enough of those broody, emo ones, you know? BRING IN THE FUNNY ONES. And I think I’ll be able to specially relate to her because we both seem so similar. The only difference is that my jokes are never funny. *weeps* But sarcasm and hilarity? Always a plus. Lol about her protectiveness, though. I agree, that kind of unnecessary way to amp up the drama + chemistry is just plain ugh. Authors need to come up with more creative and realistic situations, honestly.

    And darnit about the scientific bit of the book! Then again, time travel is kind of a hard system to grasp and explain, since there’re so many factors that need to be taken into account. I just admire authors who’re able to make it at least coherent, hahaha. And then there’s the fact that physics and science were never my strongest subjects to begin with. Bleh.

    Awesome review, Faye! Still not sure if I’ll give this one a go, but I’m definitely interested now. :)
    Megan recently posted…Swag That Failed: The Hit, Melvin BurgessMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I knoow! I missed you a lot, Megan! But I’ve been in school and university before so I completely understand :) Plus, I’ve been slacking off myself as well, because I was sick and a whole month left me demotivated and bedridden haha. Oh, if romance-oriented sci-fi books aren’t your thing… well, I wouldn’t really recommend giving this one because it’s heavy on that aspect lol. Unfortunately, in this book, there is no meeting with the past character :( Although the past MC gets affected by the future MC and there are a lot of philosophical-time-travel-wimey-thingies in between that would leave a headache, but I’m sure you can handle it if ever you decide to read it haha.

      Yes, Bree is really funny and self-deprecating. I think if you like those types you’ll definitely relate to her alot! Haha.

  6. says

    Great review, Faye.

    I’ve noticed a lot of reviews for this book lately, but I don’t think that it the right book for me. Not a big fan of time traveling or cracks in world building.

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you so much dear ^_^ If you’re not a fan of time traveling, then you wouldn’t like this at all. Although I do hope you give All Our Yesterdays a chance. That one was super cool.

  7. says

    Hooray Faye I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this book, I saw another blogger mention this book the other day, but I didn’t know what this book was about until today and I have to admit I really like the sound of it! I’ve not found a good time travel book since I read All our Yesterday’s! I shall be adding this to the tbr immediately! Fab review as always!

    • FayeFaye says

      I’m glad to see it has been making its rounds in the blogosphere recently ^_^ Definitely deserves a whole lot more spotlight! Hope you enjoy it, dear.

  8. says

    Like you time travel books are some of my favourite books but i’m also incredibly skeptical about them. While this one has been on my radar I hadn’t heard enough things about it to firmly decide whether or not to read it but you’ve got me convinced I at least need to give it a go. That last really good time travel book I read was All Our Yesterdays so hearing that this one kind of reminded you of that you is music to my ears! Lovely review Faye :)
    Lily recently posted…Kiss Kill Vanish: ReviewMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Totally understand your hesitance. I’m very hesitant as well with alot of them. I’m just thankful this one worked for me!

  9. says

    You had me at time travel. It’s really an untapped market in YA, the only ones I can think of are two others that have had storylines based on the genre. I’m super excited to grab a copy of this one, this is the second review I’ve seen today that enjoyed it. I like that Finn was more than a love interest, but an incredible character in his own right.

    Brilliant review Faye, going to check this out and grab a copy soon <3
    Kelly recently posted…Dear Diva SubmissionsMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Awww, good to know that I’ve found a time travel buddy in you, too, Kelly ;) I agree, there needs to be more of this concept in YA books… imagine going back to prehistoric times! Battling it out with the dinosaurs would be an intersting scenario indeed :D

  10. says

    Great first review back, Faye! :) I have missed you!
    I’m really looking forward to reading this one! The romance sounds super cute and like something I’ll love, and I enjoy a good time travel book. Hopefully I won’t feel too confused.
    Sorry this was AMAZING for you, but, hey, entertaining is always a good thing. :D
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Stacking the Shelves [17]My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Thanks, Danielle! I missed you, too! I’m just reaaally glad to finaly be back ;) I missed blogging and reading so much! Hopefully you don’t feel confused too when you read this. I had to concentrate really hard in reading some of them :D

  11. says

    It seems like time travel is either absolutely fantastic (All Our Yesterdays <3) or underwhelming (Tempest, so I’m glad to hear this was another solid addition to the genre. Like you said, time travel is such an intriguing topic because of all the opportunities and directions it can go. It definitely makes you think! I’m glad to hear this was enjoyable in terms of the romance and the protagonist. :) I’ll definitely consider giving this a try Faye – thanks for sharing! <3

    AND WELCOME BACK!
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Trial by FireMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I know what you mean, Zoe! Don’t we all just wish every last one of them were perfect? Think of all the possibilities to explore! Hope you enjoy this one, Zoe! And thank you!

  12. says

    Awesome review Faye, it sounds like the time travel concept was done well here and really entertaining! Oh I loved Time Traveler’s Wife when I first read it, even though it confused the hell out of me. Why is it that every time travel book gives us either too much (like this one) or too little (Like All our Yesterdays). I just love the sound of the protagonist here, she sounds like she’s really hilarious and a lot of fun! I’d never get bored while reading her point of view lol!

    Really great to read another review from you Faye, I really missed them! So glad to hear you are feeling better and have recovered!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Chatterbox: Didn’t Like the Book? We Won’t Flame You.My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you so much, Jeann! Hah, I still need to pick up my copy of the Time Traveler’s Wife ;) For some reason, books made into movies (that I haven’t read yet) don’t really interest me much, haha. Bree is certainly fun! If you like those kinds, you’ll have a blast here!

  13. Laila BC says

    lemme put this on my tbr! coz i do love time travel with romance along the way…hehehe! thanks for this review Faye :)

  14. says

    FAYEEEE *tackle hugs*

    I’m a HUGE lover of time travel as well, and I loved All Our Yesterdays. You have no idea how shattered my heart was when I heard the second book was being scrapped. *sobs heavily* I totally understand how the concept can be hard to explain through a book though, especially when the author has an idea in their head of how it may work but it doesn’t sound as believable on paper.

    The characters all sound awesome! And romance that are slow and works well are my favourite! I’ll be adding this to the TBR. Thanks for sharing lovely xx
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