The Multiverse of Max Tovey by Alastair Swinnerton, e-book, 220 pages, published by European Geeks Publishing in 2015.
Fourteen year old Max Tovey has some issues. He has been experiencing a terrifying recurrent dream, hallucinations of the distant past, and now his parents are taking him to Ham Hill to run his dying grandfather’s inn. Life is about to get even more complicated for Max though, as he learns that he is a Time Traveller, and that the dream isn’t a dream at all, but a memory. Now it is up to Max to travel through time, searching for the Montacute Cross that will seal the demonic world, and right the past and future of his own time path.
The Multiverse of Max Tovey is the first book in the Hamdun Chronicles, a new series for young adults. Max Tovey is just fourteen, but the fate of the world rests upon his shoulders, placed there by his grandfather and by the Ancient Monarchs of the Nine Hills. He must face his insecurities and anxieties to succeed, keeping his wits and battling demons, soldiers and villains.
Adventure, fantasy, mythology, and history combine in this exciting and gripping novel. It is very well written, rich in descriptive and emotive language, engaging the reader and pulling them through time with Max. While the story is incredibly complex, as Max jumps about through time and various time paths, it was never confusing. It reminded me a bit of Dr. Who, just with less aliens and more demons. You can learn some British history and mythology too. Max takes us back to first century Britain, to battles with Romans, Celts, Saxons and even Vikings. He experiences life in an alternate reality, when the past has changed to create a new possible future. He even ventures into the Otherworld, an old Celtic myth, where he meets a range of creatures, including faeries and giants, and humans living their second life. I am glad that I wasn’t reading this book aloud, as my pronunciation of Welsh and Old Celtic names and words is rather woeful, but it did add authenticity to the story.
Due to the time travelling, we actually get to meet a few different versions of some of the characters, including Max’s parents. We only get the one Max though, who I came to like immensely. He really grows as a character throughout the story, and we get to see his weaknesses and his strengths, as well as his doubts and his resolve. Max is no ordinary teenager, even before he discovers he is a Time Traveller. He is shy and awkward, and so very lonely, but moving to Ham Hill and discovering the family secrets really opens up a new world for him. His friend, Myvi, is a lovely girl too, quite encouraging and compassionate. She complemented Max wonderfully, and it was nice that they were friends without any complications of a romantic relationship. All of the characters were well developed and described, even the evil ones, and there were a couple of quite dislikable characters!
Suitable for upper primary school students and upwards, it is also a fantastic read for adults. I loved this book, and I’m very excited that there is more to come in this series.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.