Series: Lifespan of Starlight #1
Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on April 1, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Time Travel
Source: My copy
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The first in a thrilling new trilogy of epic proportions from best-selling children's author Thalia Kalkipsakis. A fresh take on the time tripping genre, The Lifespan of Starlight is Gattaca meets The Time Traveler's Wife.
It already lies dormant within you: the ability to move within time. In 2084, three teenagers discover the secret to time travel. At first their jumps cover only a few seconds, but soon they master the technique and combat their fear of jumping into the unknown. It's dangerous. It's illegal. And it's utterly worth it for the full-body bliss of each return. As their ability to time jump grows into days and weeks, the group begins to push beyond their limits, with terrifying consequences. Could they travel as far as ten years, to escape the authorities? They are desperate enough to find out. But before they jump they must be sure, because it only works in one direction. Once you trip forwards, there's no coming back.
Scout is an illegal living in Melbourne in 2084. She has no ID chip implanted to make her a citizen, but she and her mum get by on one set of rations and Scout’s hacking abilities to get by. Everything changes when Scout witnesses something amazing in Footscray Park – a woman suddenly appears in front of her eyes.
I love a time travel story and this one brings an interesting twist – you can only skip forwards in time, never back. With Scout’s status as an illegal resident, this story combines the near-future time travel aspect with the story of Scout trying to fit into a new part of society, while keeping her true identity a secret.
Scout’s world is a complex one. The story is set in the near future Australia may well have, with resources and the population tightly controlled. I loved the recognisable parts of Melbourne! I also enjoyed the ideas around the time travel – that you merely have to meditate and find the calm within yourself to skip forwards in time. Scout herself is smart, resourceful and caring for a fourteen year old, but I found the hacking parts to be a little far fetched – could a young girl really hack into the government’s computer systems undetected? Surely if her ninety-year-old neighbour can hack into her records, the government experts are going to know what she’s up to. Anyway.
Lifespan of Starlight is a refreshing addition to the Aussie YA scene. Unfortunately, setting up the future world takes some building, and it does slow down the first half of this book. Things are still quite tense, but it’s not until fairly late in the story when the pace really picks up and the big consequences become apparent. There’s a major cliff hanger at the end – I’m looking forward to seeing how that one ends up!