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All Clear by Connie Willis
Why I picked it up: It's the sequel to Blackout, by which I mean "They were supposed to be one book, but it got too long," so it's more of a immediate continuation than a sequel, if you know what I mean.
Goodreads Rating: 4/5

First of all, let me say that this book is a satisfying conclusion to Blackout. I liked the way that this historians' predicament was resolved, and I have to admit of feeling a little smug that I had begun to suspect that the problem wasn't that the continuum was trying to get rid of them, but that it wasn't allowing them to go back to 2060 because there were things they were supposed to do before they went back a little while before the characters began to realize it for themselves. (Not TOO long, though. I don't mean to suggest that Willis telegraphs too heavily, because that is not the case at all.) I also really liked the idea that Alf and Binnie, the two most difficult children in history, are the two who unknowingly end up keeping the historians "on track" and where they were supposed to be at just the right moment.

These are books that I have a feeling I'm going to want to read again at some point in the future so that I can catch all of the little hints she dropped in that I didn't know to be looking for the first time through.

Aside from the time travel aspect of the books, which I thought was quite well done, the thing I liked most about these books were the people. The everyday, ordinary people who did what they could in an incredibly difficult situation and went on about their daily lives as an act of resistance and defiance. It also made me want to go back and visit London again. Early on, this book made me go look up Holman's The Light of the World, and made me sorry I didn't pay more attention to it the one time I was in St. Paul's.

Part of me wishes that we had gotten to see more of Colin's search for Polly and the others, but the bits that we got from the museum opening in 1995 were just enough, and on reflection, I think that any more than what was included would have spoiled the effect.


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August 2014

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