Book Review: Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine by Michael Gordon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Full of interesting plots and ideas!

I received a free copy from the author, Michael Gordon, in exchange for an honest review. Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine is the first book in a series that is scheduled to be released throughout 2020 and 2021. For more info, check out Michael Gordon’s website here.

Book CWs: For a list of warnings (and tropes) for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise (from Goodreads)

Barnaby is an English boy, new to New York and daunted by the prospect of making new friends.

Adventure begins when Barnaby discovers that the ‘Teleport device’ he thinks his mad uncle has been working on is actually a time machine!

Powered by an alien crystal that endows the holder with great powers, the devices use awakens the watchful eyes of those who have been moderating them in the universe for millenia.

It’s not long before billionaire arms manufacturer Darius Dent, learns of it’s existence and hatches his own plans for the device.

Join Barnaby and friends in a journey through Nazi occupation, alien worlds and much more.

Review (No Spoilers)

There are two main reasons that I agreed to read this book:

1. The blurb is super interesting
2. It looked like a Middle Grade and I’m looking to read more MG books

Funnily enough, these two things are what my review will revolve around.

Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has a unique and thrilling plot that didn’t stop surprising me. Every time I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen next, something or someone new would pop up and give the story a fun twist. This was by far my favorite part of the book.

That being said, I do think that the pacing was a little off. The beginning lagged a bit, the middle was great, and the end seemed a bit rushed. There were a lot of times where the plot would end a certain arc and I’d be left wishing I had spent more time in it because I wanted so much more. This brings me to my second topic/question: what is the target age?

While the cover of Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine screams Middle Grade to me, the book itself is about 15 year old teens and has some mature content in it. Halfway through I started to wonder if maybe it was a YA novel. Now that I’ve finished, I think it’s kind of somewhere in between.

Despite the fact that the characters are 15, their personalities seemed to be those of middle schoolers. I actually forgot that Barnaby was 15 when I was reading the beginning chapters and assumed he was 11-12 based on his interactions. I will admit, though, that it’s completely possible that I’m just too old now and forgot how immature high schoolers can be so let’s move on to the next point about the age bracket: the plot was YA, but the writing was MG.

I don’t read many MG novels but from my understanding, they are lighter reads than YA novels because they’re for a lower age group. Based on this, I’d say that while Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine has the writing/pacing of an MG novel, the plot/content has much more YA potential. I sincerely think that this one book could have been split into two separate 300-400 page YA novels if the plot explored it’s side arcs more.

If you’re interested in Barnaby Brown and the Time Machine, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Not only does it release TODAY, but I also think Michael Gordon is on the lookout for more interested book bloggers. If this is you, check out his website for details about his other books as well as his contact info!

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