I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac
Series: The Revolutionary Series #1
Published by 47North on September 6th 2016
Genres: Time Travel
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Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.
When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. There she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.
*spoilers are hidden in spoiler tags*
In 1990, Nora O’Reilly is fifteen years old with an unruly temper that gets her into far more trouble than would be otherwise necessary. Being angry at the poor situation her family finds itself in, a murdered father, a mother that can’t put down the bottle, and a brother that is the sole breadwinner, Nora takes it upon herself to start selling pills in order to make some side cash. Cash that will hopefully one day get her family out of Ireland and away from the ongoing war for freedom. The only thing it does it get her into more trouble than her temper ever did and before long, she’s signed up to be a member of the Irish Republican Army, and won’t manage to leave Ireland for another 10 years. Flash forward to the year 2004, Nora is now thirty years old and has been spending the last several years of her life as a relief worker in various foreign countries. She’s been having strange dreams for many months which feature the same man who never actually says anything to her yet leaves her with a sense of urgency that has her puzzled. When she dreams of him one night and he actually speaks, asking her to go to a town in Ireland because he needs her help, she brushes it off as nothing but a dream but she can’t completely shake off the pull to follow through on his request. When she does as the man in her dream requested, she ends up on an adventure through time itself, ending up in the year 1923.
Bury the Living was initially tempting to me because it’s a time travel adventure and marketed to fans of Outlander. It’s an understandable similarity, yet, Living falls undeniably short of living up to the comparison. The writing was enjoyable and kept me reading till the end but the characters themselves really blurred together after a point, except for the main character who seemed to have never grown out of her teenage temper. There’s an extensive focus on the historical detailing of the time as well as a romance, but the confusing aspects of the time travel itself, the inclusion of some puzzling fantasy aspects, and the lack of a logical plot made any positive aspects of this story fall by the wayside.
The historical detailing: This was the best part of the story. This is all information I had to take at face value because I knew little to nothing about the history of Ireland and the wars and strife they went through for decades. It was terrible yet fascinating but quite clear that the author did a lot of research for this book.
The romance: There isn’t a Claire and Jamie type of love, although, they’re truly incomparable. The building blocks were established for the romance in this first installment of the planned series, but I can’t say I felt any sort of chemistry between our two supposed love birds. I expect that will come later.
The time travel: After Nora’s dreams send her to a church in Kildare to find ‘Brigid’, a nun there is prepped and ready because she also had been having dreams warning her of Nora’s impending arrival. With the help of an ancient relic View Spoiler »a finger bone. An actual finger bone. « Hide Spoiler from Saint Brigid herself, Nora is sent back to the year 1923. I don’t know, it was all just a little too methodical for my liking.
The fantasy aspects/Plot: The majority of this is quite spoilery so I’ll just include these bits in spoiler tags. View Spoiler »For her to have been sent back in time to change the history of Ireland is one thing, but for it to mainly have been about her breaking the curse of an 1,800 year old man is just ridiculous. Especially since a goddess was the one to send some random mortal back in time to break the curse. Just a little too far-fetched for me to find credible. Then there was the fact that I felt that not enough actually happened. Nora attempts to change things she thinks will be vital in determining the future but quickly realizes that nothing actually changed. What she did had no effect on what ends up happening in some way shape or form. I appreciated this aspect, that it was harder to change the past than one might think, but when change didn’t occur their decision was to go further back in time thinking that would matter. That things were already set in motion, which does make sense. But mostly led to me feeling this book led to nowhere because they resolved nothing. « Hide Spoiler
Bury the Living is an informative time travel adventure through the arduous 1920s of Ireland. It’s evident this is the first installment of a planned series and the ending definitely leaves you hanging whether Nora will ever manage to accomplish her goal of changing the future. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be picking up the next book to find out.