Monday, 13 December 2010

Review: Past Continuous by Tony Bayliss


Publisher:  Sparkling Books
Released:  September 2010
Review Format:  Paperback Edition (with thanks to Sparkling Books)
Read:  December 2010

Goodreads Synopsis:  The sensitive, gifted but troubled young Matthew cannot get to grips with everyday life.  He turns agaist his parents, whose separation leaves him shuttling back and forth between homes.  Estranged from his peers and clumsy with girls, he has difficulty in making friends and achingly yearns for a girl with whom to share his body and mind.

After Matthew's suicide, events take a turn Matthew would have wanted during his life.  His estranged parents are brought together by the devastating pain of losing their son and Matthew mysteriously starts to communicate with the bright and beautiful Sophie.

Could these hereafter contacts with Sophie be linked to the top secret research in robotics Matthew carried out for the British Government?

My thoughts:  Since finishing this book a couple of days ago, I've thought long and hard about how to approach writing this review.  How do I start without putting you off what is a seriously good book?  How do I tell you more about it without giving out spoilers?  Well I think I've cracked it and I hope you enjoy reading my review.

After the first chapter or two of this book I very nearly put it down.  It was very depressing.  I didn't like Matthew, the main character.  He was miserable, socially inept and rude.  I knew that the author had written the book after the suicide of his own son and this kind of made it obvious that Matthew too was going to commit suicide.  Was I going to read a book that was depressing right through to the very end?

The simple answer to that is NO!  Enter Sophie.  Beautiful, bright, intelligent Sophie.  A girl who likes to get her own way.  I have to admit, I didn't bond with Sophie right away, but by the middle of the book I loved her and Matthew and the book.  I very quickly realised that what I had found depressing and even a bit boring at the beginning of the book was totally necessary to set the scene for the story to follow.

Before his death Matthew was working for a Government research establishment on top secret cybernetics/robotics, and this is what the book is based around.  OK, so you know nothing about either of these?  Don't worry, neither did I, and neither did Sophie until the dreams started and she unexpectedly started having communication with Matthew who we know is dead, but Sophie doesn't.  Then Sophie realises that she loves him.  Past Continuous.

At points in this book it gives off a slightly paranormal and dystopian feel, although it really doesn't come under either of those genres.  It is set in modern day England.  The plot is very well thought out and intricately entwines a love story around the sci-fi style secret robotics at the research unit where Matthew used to work.  There are some excellent and unexpected twists and turns and an ending I certainly did not expect.  I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to my friends.

My rating:  4 stars

You can visit the book's website here.  There is also information about the author and the 'real' Matthew.

Also, please do pop back over here in a couple of days as I'm going to be running an international giveaway for this book. 


Jenny said...

I just love it when a book starts out a little difficult and then turns out to be a book I thoroughly enjoy and can't stop thinking about. I think you did a beautiful job conveying your thoughts without spoiling anything and you've certainly piqued my interest!

Aylee said...

Glad the characters grew on you. Sounds like an interesting read for sure.

Laura said...

This book sounds really interesting. I try to avoid depressing books because I'm easily affected by stories and quick to shed a tear or two during distressing scenes :oP It's really funny b/c often times my BF will walk into the room while I'm reading and tears will be streaming down my face. He takes one look at me, raises an eyebrow and then quietly leaves the room. LoL. I'm glad this book turned out to be enjoyable! Great review!

ajmitchell said...

Interesting read. I've never heard of this one before. I like that it's set in modern day England. I'll definitely being looking into this one.

To answer your questions about how to make forms for contest, you have to go to "google docs" make an account (which I think you already have because of this blog) and then go to the home page. Click on "create new" and then "form". Build your contest form and then embed it! Hope that helps.

Gina @ My Precious said...

I immediately was drawn to this book from the title and the book cover. Its very alluring. Now with your excellent, well thought out review, I really want to read it. I like stories with unexpected twists.

Also, the information about the author's son committing suicide (how sad), was a useful bit of information behind the story.

PS: Hope your kiddo feels better soon! :-)

Small Review said...

Interesting book. I probably wouldn't have considered it before, but your review was very helpful.