Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of pages: 624
Published: October 3rd, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher via Giveaway hosted at Goodreads.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The world did not end. At least not permanently. The Time Collision came from beyond the stars, a cosmic event that fractured time and space, tearing apart the earth and reshaping it into something entirely new. This is the world Diego Ribera was born into. The past, present, and future coexisting together. Timeless.
Opening Line: "On the morning of his thirteenth birthday, Diego Ribera glimpsed the future in a dream."
A cosmic event occurred causing a Time Collision that ruptured the space-time continuum melding together three distinct time periods, the past (Steam Timers), the in-between (Mid-Timers) and the future (Elders). The new world was made of bits and pieces from each time period, a world where gravity boards, steamships, trolley's, robots and even dinosaurs are now commonplace. The world created first started at war, but after years of fighting, eventually, the people came together and found a way to live together in peace. Not everyone was happy with the new arrangement and out of this, the Aeternum grew hoping to gain dominance and control of the world for themselves.
Diego lives in what is now known as New Chicago with his mother, a renowned pilot, and father one of the world's foremost engineer's instrumental in building the robots that protect the city. On his thirteenth birthday, Diego learns from his father that special abilities called "The Maker's Sight" run in their family, which grant them the skill of visualizing the design and creation of objects within their mind, talents that Diego's father also possesses. After Diego receives his birthday present, he and his father get into a huge disagreement over his plans for the future, which becomes further upsetting to Diego when he later learns that Aeternum has captured his father and a steam-engineer. Diego enlists the help of Petey, his best friend, Lucy, a girl from the Victorian Era whose brother and father were also captured, and Paige, Lucy's best friend. Together with a band of pirates, they attempt a rescue of their fathers. Along the way, they learn more about Aeternum's plans, who is behind the capture and that not just Diego's father is in danger, the whole world is at risk.
What initially drew me to Timeless was how the author began writing it as a bedtime story to his son, at first he thought of making it into a picture book but time got away from him, his son got older, so he decided to expand it into a book his pre-teen son would enjoy reading. There are over 150 illustrations in Timeless, gorgeous illustrations, like my favorite of the four kids looking up at a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The facial expressions of the characters give them a life-like quality, and each is distinct. Lucy in her Victorian dress is also one of my favorites. There are also pages giving the feel of a graphic novel detailing the action in a scene from a gunfire fight. All the illustrations add these rich, lush details to this very unique world. I'm not surprised to learn that Baltazar is a former art director for Disney and Pixar. I also really enjoyed the mixing of the different eras into one, having robots right next to dinosaurs lends itself to some interesting hazards and challenges for the adventures. Everything from protecting their ship against a dinosaur and World War II fighter plane attack, to building and creating a robot or car submarines. It's hard to place whether this is fantasy or science fiction, or steam-punk but it's enjoyable nonetheless. With characters from different eras, Baltazar also delved into the topics of the suffragette movement, discrimination, even slavery. A wonderful adventure coupled with some of the most gorgeous illustrations makes me eager to see what Baltazar comes up with next. Here's a small sample from the prologue and an introduction that highlights some of the illustrations and models Baltazar made while creating Timeless.