Review Blog

Jul 08 2011

Changing yesterday by Sean McMullen

cover image

Ford St Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9781921665370.
(Age 14+) Recommended. The sequel to Before the storm, Changing yesterday is an exciting continuation of the events in 1901, after the group led by Battle Commander Liore, saved Parliament House from a bomb. The book starts with a scene at Albury railway station where the Prince is coming to visit and the wicked Lionhearts plan to assassinate him. However Liore with her futuristic weapon, knows that with the help of her friends, she can foil their ugly plot and save the world from a century long war. Meanwhile Daniel is devastated as his girlfriend, Muriel, has run off to Paris with Fox and Barry the Bag is determined to steal Liore's gun and sell it to the King.
Much of the action takes place on a luxury liner as Daniel has been packed off to London to get over his heartbreak and Barry the Bag carrying Liore's weapon, manages to get a first class ticket on the same luxury passenger ship. This is a fascinating setting and I learnt much about the transport of early 20th century, the huge steam engines and the engineers and stokers who kept them going. The descriptions of life on a luxury liner, the cabins, meals and entertainment were reminiscent of scenes on the Titanic and were equally as fascinating.
Daniel comes of age in this story. Even though he is heart broken about Muriel's desertion, he manages to have a good time with the girls on board the ship. A feisty new character, Madeline, who wants to be a detective, is introduced and her story could give rise to a lot of classroom discussion about the role of women in the early 20th century. Much of Liore's background is revealed and as the story progresses she seems to become more human like, even though she is very angry about Barry's theft of her gun. McMullen has used some clever ideas to help Liore figure out how to break a time loop and stop the Century War.
I loved the fact that McMullen has very successfully combined steampunk with Australian history in an action packed story. I believe that this series is one that should be on every library shelf. Read a guest blog by Sean with background to his research here.
Pat Pledger

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