For my review this week I once again tried a novel with themes of time travel.

This is something that I’ve found trouble with in the past as I’ve always loved the concept of basing stories around time travel but haven’t yet found one that I’ve really connected with, or loved the way I want to. The Time Travel Diaries was, unfortunately not the book I’ve been looking for, nonetheless there were parts of it that I really enjoyed, and I respect how well a sense of humour and light was brought to a subject that can often be confusing and heavy.

The book follows a schoolboy named Alex Papas who speaks Greek and some Latin, and has a particular interest in Ancient Roman culture that takes him further than he ever thought it would. Eccentric billionaire Solomon Daisy has invented a way to time travel and employs Alex to go back to 3rd Century AD Londinium to find a mysterious girl who lived there at the time and who Solomon has been having visions of. If Alex can come back to the present day having found the girl he gets five million pounds, which his family could definitely use, but can he find her? Or will he even survive his journey? As he tries to navigate the past, Alex comes across many challenges and twists that he never could have expected, and as his position as a young person, has a helpfully light and youthful perspective, making it a sweet and easy read.

Although I appreciate this about the book, it was also part of the reason I just couldn’t get myself hooked. The book was, certainly written for people a little younger than I am now, which can sometimes make a book more enjoyable, but for me it was a little difficult to relate to and couldn’t find myself connecting with. The humour, themes of ancient culture, and amusing inserts of conversational Latin are all things that I’d love to see in more books, but the writing style made me feel a little disconnected and made it all too easy to put down. There was also an intelligent twist of education mixed in that I think makes it a valuable book that I would absolutely recommend to people slightly younger than me with an interest in Latin.

My search for the perfect time travel book for me may not be complete, but I firmly believe that The Time Travel Diaries will end someone else’s search, making it almost enjoyable to review. If you’re aged around 9-12 or know someone who is and may be intrigued by exciting and lighthearted travels through ancient Roman London, I ask you to pick up this book and assure you it will not be disappointing.