Time Will Tell
by Andaleeb Wajid (Bloomsbury, 2014)
In the concluding part of the Tamanna Trilogy, Manoj’s attempt to reunite with Tamanna in 2013 has resulted in his accidentaly ending up in 2023. It’s up to Tamanna to zip forward in time for a change and rescue him, but there are many spokes in the wheel, including the fact that she is in hospital, recovering from a bus accident that happened in 1983. Is the tale of the time-crossed teens heading towards a tragic ending?
Time Will Tell finds Tamanna and Manoj facing off with a new and dangerous adversary, the sinister Dr Arvind, who suspects that there is more to Tamanna’s story than meets the eye. Add to the mix the definitely-hot Rajat, who is hell bent on pursuing Tamanna despite her claim of already having a boyfriend. Then her parents drop a bombshell that may not only change Tamanna’s relationship with them but also put into question the possibility of being with Manoj.
Rather than going back to the 1980s, Time Will Tell takes a trip to 2023 Bangalore, which is a bit of a mixed bag. The author throws some delectable scraps of life in the 2020s, but steers clear of going into details. While that feels frustrating in part, it’s also a relief that matters are not unnecessarily complicated. That said, an auto ride from Jayanagar to Koramangala costing a thousand bucks is depressingly believable. As matters churn towards a racy, if filmy ending, you’ll be satisfied if you have been thinking of the series as a romance and not sci-fi.
Time travel is not an easy sub-genre to pull off. First, it’s been done to death; second, there are matters of timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbliness. No Time for Goodbyes (the first book) reminded me of Back to the Future with it’s plot of meeting your teenage parents and the whiff of a complex love triangle. The second book, Back in Time put me in mind of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series of books for reasons I won’t go into because of spoiler issues. But the trilogy managed to shake off both plotlines. Overall, it stays on the satsifying scale, scoring on the love story angle, but not quite impressing as a science fiction novel.
The major quibble is that the time-travel mechanics are vague to say the least. There are some tantalizing tidbits thrown at the reader over the three books that one had hoped would flesh out into a sound logic, but it doesn’t. Thus, the jumping through time is something that just happens and just happens to some people. There are various logical flaws, including no explanation (or convenient ones) for matter such as which day one time-travels to. I also wasn’t sure why Tamnanna worried about Manoj “already being x months in the future”—she could have waited for the right day and then gone ahead in time the same date (day and month) that Manoj had and “rescued” him. That way, he’d have to spend less than a day in the future. After all, in the words of the world’s most famous time-traveller, “You can run away all you like and still be home in time for tea.” It was also said that the past can’t be changed, but why can’t the future?
Also, there were a number of convenient coincidences, starting with the matter of the penfriend. Also, how lucky were they to step into 2023 Bangalore and just happen to spot Manoj walking on the street barely an hour later? Finally, I’m not sure why their mobile phones were working in 2023. If the numbers were in service, someone had to have been paying the bills; in which case, why did the calls not go through to the real owners of the numbers?
See what I mean? Time travel is path strewn with thorns! But then, this trilogy is no River Song timeline (Doctor Who SPOILERS in link), so you won’t break your brain traversing it. If you can keep from getting your undies in a twist about the sci-fi logic, you might just enjoy and unusual love story. As a reader who has a soft spot for messy timelines and little patience with romance, this was an interesting discovery.
Other books in the series: