The Time Tider

Author: Sinéad O’Hart


ISBN: 9781788953306 Category:

PUBLICATION DATE: February 2 2023

BINDING: Paperback

EXTENT: 256 pages

DIMENSIONS: 129 x 198 mm

In stock

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Mara and her dad have lived in their van for as long as she can remember. Whatever her father does to scrape a living has kept them constantly moving and Mara has never questioned it. That is until she uncovers a collection of notes addressed to ‘the Tider’, an individual responsible for harvesting lost time from people whose lives were cut short.

But before Mara can question her father he is taken by a dangerous group who want to use his power for evil. With the very fabric of time and space at stake, it’s down to Mara and her new friend Jan to find him before it’s too late…

A fast-paced, time bending adventure perfect for fans of A WRINKLE IN TIME, THE SECRET KEEPERS and SKY SONG.

4 reviews for The Time Tider

  1. erinthecatprincess

    The Plot

    Set in Ireland, our book opens with Mara collecting food from a City Homeless Outreach point. She pockets extra food when she can, then goes to leave. But being a solitary child, she’s caught the eye of the staff. They give chase when she won’t stop and discuss being out alone. Mara has a gift and can see what she calls a ‘soft place’ in time, bubbles if you will, that she can duck into and elude capture, which she does. A short while later, she returns home to the rickety van she has grown up in. Here her dad, Gabriel, is busy with sealed glass jars and strange, gas-like substances within.

    Mara’s life since her mother died has been one long journey. Travelling by backroads and often by night, she and her father crisscross the country. Eluding the people, he says, are chasing them and meaning them harm. What he does when he goes off to see people and conduct business, she doesn’t know. At least that was until waking up one morning in an empty van, she goes to explore. Hearing voices, she watches Gabriel conduct a deal. He passes over one of the glass jars for money. The buyer drinks what’s within, and Mara thinks her father momentarily vanishes. 

    12-year-old Mara is of the age when she needs to know. She wonders what it’s like to live an ordinary life, have friends and go to school. To be in one place. And to learn more about her mother. She also wants to know more about what Gabriel’s up to. 

    The Discovery of rolled-up papers in a sealed bottle, entitled The Time Tiders Handbook, heralds the beginning of the adventure. More discoveries follow, including a picture of her mother. But before she can glean much information from her father, their pursuers catch up. In the ensuing frantic escape, with Mara at the van’s wheel, her father says he will give himself up. All Mara has to do is keep going and find someone called Lenny. Thrusting his precious and unique watch and notebook into her lap, he jumps out and is captured. 

    But who is Lenny? Mara has distant recollections and an idea of his location. And what does he have to do with her father being a Time Tider? Indeed, what is a Time Tider? If she is going to get her father back and get the information she needs, she has no choice but to find Lenny. 

    Who is chasing them and why will soon be revealed to her. But as she gets more involved, her search becomes far more deadly than any 12-year-old and her newfound friend, Jan, should be involved in. You see, the Time Tider, Gabriel, harvests unused time from the dead. It can also be taken from the living, which is something that he should never do but does to make money. The bad people want what only her father can give – extra life. They want the bottled life he has stashed away, all of it, and to take his skill. To get it, they’ll risk everything, including the collapse of time and the destruction of the world.

    What did I think?

    The premise of the Time Tider is that time itself needs to be balanced and the extra time from those that die too early collected and stored safely. The more time left uncollected, the greater the risk of cataclysmic results. This is not one I have read before, nor for that matter, seen in the movies. So like so many great books, it instantly appealed, and I needed to know more.

    How would the writer deal with such a potentially complex Sci-Fi style subject? Would it be another out-of-this-world, and sadly, beyond-belief Marvel-Esque adventure? The only way was to ask to do a review. And I am so pleased Kim obliged me with the copy. 

    Over a couple of nights, we became engrossed in Sinéad’s storytelling and adventure. 

    The story is delightfully grounded in the here and now, atmospheric, plausible, at times heartfelt, never short on pace and utterly engaging. 

    The cast grows with the adventure, never pushy or unlikely for the plot. Nothing is ever too much for the reader, which reflects some clearly serious story plotting. The final chapters were addictive, demanding to be read. The conclusion, well, I can’t spoil that, though it wasn’t what I expected, which is always lovely.  

    Sat here now, Mrs H says it is an adventure that lingers in the mind and poses some ethical dilemmas that are not easy to answer. This adds so well to the story’s credibility. 

    So . . . . 
    Crunch time.

    A perfect middle-grade read with a delightful cover that I think will appeal greatly. Mara is a Brilliant protagonist with hard decisions and a van full of trouble chasing and snapping at her heels. What’s not to love?! 

  2. Jenni Spangler

    I am always drawn to stories that play with the concept of time. This book asks some big questions – what happens if a person dies before they use up their allotment of time? Can it be harvested, stored, added to another life time? Is it ethical to sell and consume time that came from others, and what lengths will the living go to in order to buy a little more time for themselves?
    But don’t be misled by the big philosophical questions this story tackles. It is packed with action from beginning to end. Mara and her father live on the outskirts of society, always on the move, always looking over their shoulders. After years of Dad shielding her from his mysterious and dangerous work, he is ripped away from her. Mara is forced to fend for herself, uncover her family’s secrets and navigate the treacherous world of Warps and Clockwatchers. She’s a tough and resourceful heroine, and the allies and enemies she meets along the way are complex, morally grey characters with their own agendas.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. Immersive, exciting and thought-provoking. Fantastic.

  3. Schizanthus Nerd

    “Time and Tide May Wait for None; But They Will Wait for You.”

    Twelve year old Mara and her father live their life on the road. Mara doesn’t know what her father’s job is, only that it keeps him perpetually busy. When she sees her father disappear before her very eyes, Mara’s casual curiosity about what her father’s work entails becomes more urgent.

    “People don’t just vanish, do they?”

    What she discovers will cause her to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about her father and the way they live. She’ll also gain a greater understanding of the soft places she’s been able to find for as long as she can remember.

    When her father is kidnapped, Mara will need to learn his secrets in order to find him. Time and the fate of the world depend on it.

    Because Mara has grown up isolated with a father whose paranoia may or may not be warranted, she doesn’t know who she can trust. This makes the introduction of new characters unsettling as Mara’s distrust is contagious.

    I loved Mara. She’s feisty, intelligent and brave. She also broke my heart.

    “I’m used to stuff not being safe. I’ve never been safe. Not ever.”

    This book explores how fear can isolate you and grief can be all encompassing, causing you to spend so much time focusing on what you’ve lost that you don’t pay attention to what you still have. There are a lot of moral questions raised, primarily about power and its ability to corrupt, and the lengths you’d go to for someone you love.

    I’m not the hugest fan of characters being able to use their abilities flawlessly the first time they try. I much prefer to anticipate the payoff that comes when heroes persevere despite their initial struggles. Because I liked Mara so much, I was able to cheer her on even as I bristled at her ability to do what seemed impossible straight away. I doubt the target audience will have any problems with her innate talent.

    I loved the excerpts from The Time Tider’s Handbook at the beginning of each chapter. They gave information about how Warps work and the role of the Time Tider, and oftentimes they gave clues as to where the chapters were heading.

    “A Time Tider’s work is secretive, unsung and solitary, but know this to be true: they are all that stand between humanity and its destruction.”

    Content warnings include gun violence.

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Little Tiger, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

  4. Valinora Troy

    Really enjoyed this fast-paced adventure with a fantastic speculative fiction element. When people die before their time (presumably by accident, murder, or warfare), their unused time must be collected by the Time Tider. Otherwise it is in danger of forming time warps. Time warps lead to problems, enough time warps not dealt with could lead to a catastrophic event. So the role of the Time Tider (and I really like that title) is desperately important. Especially as unscrupulous people want the ability to harvest the time for their purposes. Which makes it very difficult for Mara when her father (the current Time Tider) goes missing as he has kept his work from her.
    I love the premise for this story. The writing and pacing are excellent but it was the speculative fiction elements that drew me from the start. I am always happy to see magical objects appear in books, so of course I loved the tools of the Time Tider – the stitch, the hourglass and the pocket watch. I also enjoyed the excerpts from the Time Tider’s notebook that prefaced each chapter, drip feeding information about the responsibilities of the Time Tider and also hinting at events to come. The ‘soft place’ that Mara hides in at the start also intrigued me. I would have liked the speculative element developed more (I loved the premise a lot) but ultimately I was left with questions about how it all hung together. But that won’t matter to most readers. The story follows Mara as she tries to discover what is going on, find her Dad, and protect the Time Tider, his tools and the time warps from those who would misuse them. Temptations of those who have power and those corrupted by it are also touched upon. All in all, a satisfying adventure with enough fantastical elements for a gripping and entertaining read.

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