For the most part, YA novel Future Threat (Book #2 in the Future Shock Trilogy), by Elizabeth Briggs (2017, 266 pages), maintains the zingy momentum of the first book’s plot, as the survivors of Aether’s first teenage time-traveling team return to the future to retrieve another team of time travelers that have gone awol.
Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.
But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.
But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.
Would you want a glimpse of your future in thirty years? If not, would you have the willpower not to look if someone set a computer in front of you on which you could Google yourself in 2047? (Or, as in this story, if someone stuck a bandaid-sized “flexi” microcomputer on your face that connected your brain to the internet?) In book one, Elena, boyfriend Adam, and friend Chris are warned it might not be a good idea to look themselves up on the internet when they travel thirty years into the future, but they can’t resist. What they see is upsetting. So when they go back to the present they attempt to change the timelines so this glimpsed future never comes about. On trip two they look themselves up again, but the future that is revealed this time is very different, and then it’s different again on trip three. So which is the “real” future? And can they take actions that will give them the happiest future? These alternate realities were interesting in and of themselves, but the characters’ emotional reactions to them were even more interesting and were my favorite aspect of the book. Time travel plots are tricky; Elizabeth Briggs handles them deftly.
As in book one, Elena continues to be a refreshingly strong but sensitive protagonist who can kickbox her way out of many dicey situations. She may not be book smart like her boyfriend, but she has street smarts and tries to listen to her intuition. I loved how she was concerned about having to take care of her geeky boyfriend Adam in a rough scenario and not the other way around! In fact, numerous stereotypes are smashed in these two books. The unflagging patience of Adam made him a bit too perfect to be believable, but whatevs, it’s a YA book–suspend disbelief and enjoy him. Chris’ every gesture and comment make him spring to life for me, and I really like one of the new characters that are introduced in this book, too.
I appreciated that although there is a third book in the series, the author did not end this story on a cliffhanger. She also clearly summarizes what happened in book one, so this book can stand alone. But I’ll probably read book three, to see more of the author’s visions of the future, and Elena and Adam’s reactions to those futures.
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