tea-machine-by-gill-mcknightThe Tea Machine by Gill McKnight is a tale about time travel. Its theme centers on the butterfly effect and alternate realities.

In 1862 London, Millicent’s brother, Hubert, has invented a machine that makes time travel possible. When Millicent accidentally triggers the time machine, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a space squid battle in an alternate future, in the year of 1957. She runs into Sangfroid, an Imperial Space Corps Marine who was sent to evacuate the ship. When Millicent becomes the cause of Sangfroid’s death she takes on the task of ensuring the survival of the Space Marine. During her multiple attempts into the future a few unexpected passengers travel back with Millicent.

When Hubert and Millicent find out that the Roman Empire in Sangfroid’s time line did not perish, but thrived and advanced beyond comprehension, they know something has gone incredibly wrong with time traveling. They must find and fix the cause of the butterfly effect before it’s too late and the London they know becomes an industrial wasteland.

The Characters

Millicent is one of the lead characters of the story. She lives with her brother in London as a single woman. She has more interest in books than men and, thanks to her father’s fortune, which was passed down to her, has lived an independent lifestyle. She is a proper lady but her tastes are not too extravagant.

I enjoyed this character because of her decisiveness, compassion, and understanding. There is a time where she even shows her human side by being jealous, but it is most appropriate. If I put myself in her shoes, I would have felt the same way.

Hubert is Millicent’s brother and he is betrothed to Sophia. He is intensely passionate about science and learning. His appearance is always a bit on the disheveled side. There is a deep brother/sister bond between him and Millicent.

Sophia comes from a large family. She is one of the last daughters to be born and, by the time she was born, her mother was tired. Sophia never truly receives a formal education and so desperately wants attention. She is slightly vapid and never quite aware of her surroundings.

Sangfroid and Gallo come from the alternate reality where Rome has expanded and advanced to the point of space travel. They are both Imperial Space Corps Marines. These two characters provide comic relief. Their humor is slightly crude and they are a tad boisterous, but that is truly what I love about them (as well as the fact that they are tall).

The Writing Style

The book has great comedy and well-written action scenes. It’s told in first person and the author takes turns telling the story from the leading cast’s point of view.

The Pros

The Tea Machine had me laughing out loud and often. The characters are definitely well written and delightfully funny. The action is stimulating and there was a moment when I had to move the book away from my face ever so slightly because the scene got too intense.

The Cons

I really couldn’t stand Sophia. In addition, at the end of the story a lot of my questions remained unanswered and I felt a little annoyed by that.

brooklyn's favouriteMichelle's Favourite BooksThe Conclusion

This is a fun and exciting book with a bit of a puzzle to it. It’s mainly focused on the action and the plot but there was just the right amount of romance. I’m curious to see what the next book in the series has in store.

Excerpt from The Tea Machine by Gill McKnight

A blur of celery coloured chiffon caught the corner of her eye. Sangfroid spun and took aim. Her trigger finger faltered. A young woman synthesized into solid form before her. The woman reached out and gently, but firmly, pointed the weapon away from her face.

“Now we’ll do it my way,” she said and grabbed Sangfroid’s wrist. “Run!”

Despite her small size, she seized Sangfroid with a surprisingly steely grip and took off down the corridor, her long skirts swirling and heels clicking in a rapid staccato, clearly uncaring about the noise she created. She was drawing them away from the Beta sector hangar. Sangfroid stumbled along behind her, still stunned by the woman’s sudden appearance but somehow compelled to run along with her. Instinct moved her feet. Her gut, with its uncanny predilection for survival, urged her onward.

Gallo’s gunfire stopped. Sangfroid hoped that meant she’d managed to evacuate safely. The Colossal’s screams echoed down the corridor after them. The walls reverberated with a deafening pounding. It was giving chase, pouring its limbs into the narrow corridor, following the vibrations of their running feet.

At the first junction, they skidded to a halt. The young woman looked left and then right, fussing and frowning. “Which way is it?” she demanded.

“To where?” Sangfroid asked. Who the hell was she? Where had she come from? Did Colossals have hallucinogenic weaponry?

“This way.” The woman grabbed at her arm again and dragged her to the left towards the Beta research labs. “If we cut through here it should bring us out at Kappa sector,” she said.

How did she know that? “Who are you?” Sangfroid asked.

“Oh, no.” Her cry of dejection stopped them in their tracks. Up ahead two infantile squid sat glued to the walls on either side of the corridor. They blinked stupidly, quivering in alarm at the sight of humans. Sangfroid raised her laser, but too late. The smaller squid spat out ink. It caught her full in the face, and she immediately fell into respiratory arrest. She sank to her knees, aware the woman beside her had received a direct hit, too. She felt the woman’s hand claw at her arm before it slipped away. Blindly, Sangfroid scrabbled about for her but couldn’t find her. The woman was lying somewhere out of reach. She’d lost her.

“Oh bother, not again,” came the soft sigh off to her left. Then the suffocating darkness squeezed the last ounce of life from her lungs.

Another Except

Much to her mortification, the soldier swung behind her, cupping her entire body with her larger one. The woman was exceptionally tall, and her long limbs easily encased Millicent on either side. Heat flew to her face, and she could feel the tips of her ears scorch. No one had ever pressed against her that way. The soldier smelled strongly of sweat and a sharp nitrous odour she put down to some sort of gunfire residue. Her uniform with its elaborate straps and buckles was torn and scorched and smelled coppery with blood. She’d noted the limp earlier, and now Millicent wondered how many other wounds the soldier had.

“We’ll go slow, okay.”Her voice rumbled just above Millicent’s head. “I don’t want you to fall.”Then she felt the press of the soldier’s chest against her back. Millicent gripped the vibrating metal with white-knuckled fingers. Her toes curled in her light house shoes for extra purchase. Falling was not the immediate problem. She could feel the stir of the soldier’s breath against her scalp, and heat radiated off her into Millicent’s spine and hips. She puffed a strand of loose hair out of her eyes, hoping to cool her burning cheeks. What on earth was this soldier thinking, squashing a lady like this? It was very improper, even if she was trying to save her from the morass below.

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Note: I received a free review copy of this book for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.