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Kaliane Bradley

Author of The Ministry of Time

1 Work 632 Members 31 Reviews

Works by Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time (2024) 632 copies, 31 reviews


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This was a book I had great hopes for, especially since it has the same title as a Spanish TV series we adored (but has nothing to do with that show, beyond the name.) I am fascinated by the experience of The Endurance in Antartica, so the similar elements of the historical portion, in the Arctic was tantalizing. I'd read a number of reviews and had recommendations from people I generally trust. It had history, time travel, and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it all came together in a way that just didn't seem to work for me. While, as I mentioned, the elements had potential, I found the pacing uneven, and ended up putting it down, and picking it up again many times, which also didn't help in getting me engaged in the characters. My favorite characters ended up being other ex-pats, rather than either of the leads. Mind you, I'm not saying it was a bad book, just not for me.… (more)
bookczuk | 30 other reviews | Jul 23, 2024 |
I think I just inhaled this was so good I could only put it down when my eyes wouldn't stay open.
Lots of action and dialogue, but enough thought-provoking ideas to challenge me. I can imagine the fun the author would have had in creating dialogue for the various eras of the time travelers.
I enjoyed the brief interludes where we share Graham Gore's memories about his Antarctic exploration with Franklin's Expedition in 1845. His character is based on a real explorer and adds another dimension to this novel.
One of the concepts for which I may need to reread this book in order to think more in depth is the idea of how we classify people (racially & culturally) by our language, by the kinds of questions we feel free to ask someone we perceive as different from us. The narrator has a Cambodian mother & white father, tries to pass as white and is very protective of sharing her personal history. We hear about her sister who reacts differently to her upbringing & publishes stories about the family. Should they consider themselves 'survivors' or 'refugees'? How about simply parents doing the best they can to raise a family? The Ministry calls the people they have snatched from a death in the past "ex-pats", but acknowledges that at first they may think of themselves as kidnapped. The narrator has an argument with the only other person of color on the Team about whether or not certain actions by those in charge are racist, and ends up making an enemy of her.
As far as language goes, I think it is unusual that the 'ex-pats' often call themselves by the decade they came from, and only sometimes by their names. Is this a way of trying to accept that they are out of their time? Or is it an indication by the author that some characters won't be as vital? I'm not sure...
All I can really tell you about the outcome is that there are secrets behind secrets.
… (more)
juniperSun | 30 other reviews | Jul 22, 2024 |
Creative story speculating on the future and how time travel might affect lives and history. I loved the ideas of the story and the characters and use of history from 1845 Arctic Expedition, but it would have been more enjoyable if the Author had told it more succinctly in about 100 less pages as it seemed mundane and dragged in much of the middle part. She could have expanded on the "bridges" (don't know if we ever get her actual name) background and Cambodian ancestry or she could have written about the "bridge" going to Alaska at the end to find Gore, if she wanted the book to be as long but more interesting. Anyway the book brought up some interesting thoughts on Government heavily controlling lives and on how someone would adapt to huge time travel (centuries or more forward). Also the book could have further speculated on the future and why people would use time travel if available.… (more)
ZachMontana | 30 other reviews | Jul 21, 2024 |
I went into this read without knowing a whole lot about it except that it’s a buzzy, summer book that lots of book bloggers have been highlighting. I really had no idea what I was getting into. In short, I was getting into a bit of everything: sci-fi time-travel, star-crossed lovers, mystery-thriller tensions, kitschy characters. This could’ve easily been a flighty, campy time-travel tale with all the low-hanging fruit of humorous interactions that happen when time periods collide. (I mean, even the cover has a farcical, Space Balls vibe.) And while there is a lot of wit and humor, this is a much more layered, speculative story about whistleblowers and half-veiled government initiatives, ambiguous villains and predatory allies, the power of shaping a narrative, of shaping progress by reshaping history. The entirety of it is incredibly original and intelligent and has full command of your imagination and emotions throughout the whole ride.

Normally, time-travel stories aren’t my go-to, but this is my favorite kind of time travel book: just go along with it; don’t try to understand the nuances of this specific time travel; just accept it.

“Anyone who has ever watched a film with time-travel, or read a book with time-travel, or dissociated on a delayed public transport vehicle by considering the concept of time-travel, will know that the moment you start to think about the physics of it, you are in a crock of shit. How does it work? How can it work? I exist at the beginning, and end of this account simultaneously, which is a kind of time-travel, and I’m here to tell you: don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that in the near future, the British government developed the means to travel through time but had not yet experimented with doing it” (5).

That’s how it begins: just accept this time-travel thing, and we’ll get into the good stuff. And the rest is so good, all built around our protagonist, a civil servant who’s landed her dream job as a bridge for expats from different centuries, and Graham Gore, a gregarious Victorian Naval explorer who was brought into the future through an undercover British government operation and tries to adapt in this new world. Throughout this anachronistic plot, you end up questioning everything. Yes, there are twisty surprises, but more than plot, it makes you question the ethics of everything and the consequential effects of our actions and behaviors and best intentions. It makes you consider the past in a less than nostalgic lens and the future in a more than urgent lens, highlighting both the fatalistic and hopeful possibilities that always seem to exist at the same time.
… (more)
lizallenknapp | 30 other reviews | Jul 21, 2024 |





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