The Time Gatherer (The Timegathering Series)

Written by Rachel Dacus
Review by J. Lynn Else

After spontaneously appearing at a rock concert in 1970, George learns that he has a rare gene that allows him to time travel, known as Time Gathering. Living in 2053, George’s time gathering soon leads to disastrous consequences as a woman he meets in 1147 takes an arrow meant for him. The people hunting George are Optimalists. They strive to create genetic perfection along with eradicating the time gathering gene. When George meets an artist from 1655 named Elisabetta, he falls in love. Learning she’s fated to die young, George will do whatever he can to save her while putting his life in increasing danger every time he travels back in time.

After learning about his ability, George’s mentors teach him little and then encourage him to “live his life.” Despite an attempt on his life, knowledge about the organization behind it is turfed until he’s older, which feels odd. Additionally, George asks his mentor the same question multiple times, making scenes feel redundant. George continues to travel back in time, despite warnings against it, without consequence. This discredits his mentors’ warnings and greatly lessens the stakes of the novel. The rules to time gathering are few. How his genes allow him to travel back in time while changing his clothes to period-appropriate attire and allowing him to speak other languages isn’t explained. The middle portion slows as the central plot is pushed aside as George focuses on girls and graduations. There are editorial errors like incorrect words or incomplete sentences. Only when we explore Elisabetta’s studio in 1655 Bologna do things get interesting again and history takes a stronger role in the novel. Learning the techniques of painting through Elisabetta is quite intriguing. Dacus has a love of art that shines through these pages, which makes for a delightful second half.