Title: All Our Yesterdays
Series: Cassandra Chronicles, #1
Author: Cristin Terrill
Published: Disney Hyperion, September 2013
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][The Book Depository]
You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
To be honest, I was a little unsettled by the bleak beginning of All Our Yesterdays. You see, I’m not a fan of dreadful, dreary scenes and reading about how people were kept and tortured inside their cells? Definitely not something I’d want to picture in my mind! But Em’s obsession over a rusty drain piqued my interest and before I knew it, I was thumbing through the pages, following Em and Finn back to a time when young Marina was madly in love with the boy next door.
I’m glad that the story is not merely a coming-of-age novel. While we got to see the character growth of Marina, James and Finn, it’s the impact of one seemingly-noble-but-selfish decision that horrified and scared me. I normally wouldn’t assume the worst in human nature but when someone chose to play god, it’s a scary, awful, maddening thing! And that’s what we have in the story – a reality of devastation and chaos that pushed our main characters to do what seemingly impossible to hopefully save the dying world.
It’s heartbreaking to see how the characters wrestled with what they had to do to survive. Em, while undoubtedly strong, was definitely haunted by a past that was disturbingly life-draining. Finn, regardless of how much he wanted to help, knew from the bottom of his heart that he might fail, that he might not live to see a future without devastation or despair. Their emotions overwhelmed me, and while a part of me would much prefer to take a break from all the dismalness, another part of me just wanted to keep going … and I have to say – this wasn’t a comfortable experience for me – as I felt torn by my own inner struggle while working my way through the story!
Now that I’ve finished reading the book, I’m glad that I had lost some sleep to plough through it. I admired the young James and found Finn adorkably charming. I sympathized Marina and loved Em for her compassion. The ending was a little abrupt (if not shocking) but I think it’s a great way to prep us for what may happen in book two of the Cassandra Chronicles series!
Overall, I’m amazed by everything offered in this novel, and I wholeheartedly recommend All Our Yesterdays to anyone who loves a good time-travel story!