Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen

Author: Thomas Mullen
Title: The Revisionists
Description : The books opens as we meet Z, a “revisionist” who has been sent from the “Perfect Future” to make sure that the future stays that way. His opponents are the “hags,” time-traveling rebels who attempt to change the future by preventing certain events from happening. After Z makes sure that a certain journalist will indeed be murdered, the point of view shifts to three other protagonists: Sari, a beautiful young Indonesian domestic worker who is trapped in her horrific employment by her lack of documentation and her inability to speak or understand English; Leo, a former CIA agent who, a bit at loose ends after his CIA gig went bad, works for some kind of intelligence-gathering company; and Tasha, a lawyer on the fringes of activism who is of interest to both Leo and Z.
Review source: Netgalley
Plot: The plot is riveting. Even though the action alternates among the four main characters, the reader is not confused about what’s going on. Mullen manages to describe the action clearly without revealing motives too soon. During a good amount of the book, the reader wonders how all four of these characters will eventually connect, but there is no doubt that will eventually happen.
Characters: The four main characters form two loose couples: Z and Tasha know one another, and Leo and Sari know one another. As the point of view moves from one to another, each character reveals enough of his or her past to become familiar and sympathetic to the reader. Z is the only character who is written in first-person, and there is no doubt that he is the primary protagonist. He also has the most backstory, though all of the characters have some history.
Writing style: This was my first book by Mullen, and I thought it was brilliant. He kept the plot spinning, drew the characters finely, and still managed to ask the big philosophical questions that make a book memorable.
Audience: While its genre is technically time-travel  sci fi, this book will be of interest to readers of literary fiction as well.
Wrap-up: What is the nature of history? If people lose their past, how much of themselves do they lose with it? Is murder ever justified? Do we live in the best of all possible worlds? These questions are the kind that keep getting raised by this book; all the while we’re trying to fight off fiendish bosses, mourning lost loved ones, and trying to figure out the moral conundrums of postmodern life with the characters of The Revisionists. 4/5*


  1. Sold! I'll get right on it, as soon as I finish the disappointing fourth installment of Game of Thrones (technically, the series is "Song of Ice & Fire", but that makes my fingers feel ridiculous as they're typing it) and the Steve Jobs bio. The SJ bio is as expected- nearly exhaustive, pretty well written, and aesthetically Apple-esque.

  2. I've been thinking of putting the Jobs bio on my to-read list, but so far I'm still on the fence. Love your twitter-worthy review, though!