ARC REVIEW: Here And Now And Then – by Mike Chen

Title: Here And Now And Then
Author: Mike Chen
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel
First published: January 29th 2019
Publisher: Mira Books
Finished reading: January 14th 2019
Pages: 336

“We’re all different people all through our lives, but that’s okay, as long as you remember all the people you used to be.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Mira Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I know that science fiction isn’t my typical genre, but there was just something about this story that made me want to read it almost instantly. I have been looking forward to pick up Here And Now And Then for months, but somehow I don’t think my expectations were actually met. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I think it has to do that for a time travel story, I found the sci-fi elements rather weak. Here And Now And Then read more like a romance/family drama with a time travel touch rather than the other way around, and this definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. The story is mostly character driven and while some details are mentioned about the time travel and future, the focus was mostly on Kin and his lives in the 1990s and 2142. The chapters in the future didn’t feel all that authentic or detailed and I didn’t get a proper 1990s vibe from those chapters set in that era either… As I said, the focus was mostly on the characters themselves. There was a whole lot of drama going on and combined with my lack of connection with the characters I had a hard time getting a proper feel for the story. Add a slower pace (not unusual with character driven stories), and I ended up having a completely different experience than I thought I would have… But that is probably just me, since most people do seem to love this story. Sci-fi fans might be disappointed by Here And Now And Then, but fans of family dramas with a sci-fi adventurous touch will probably have a great time.

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Kin Stewart seems to be having a very ordinary life, married with a teenage daughter and working in I.T. in suburban San Francisco in the 1990s. Nobody knows he used to be a time-traveling secret agent from 2142, stranded in the 1990s after a mission went wrong… He has been stranded for eighteen years, keeping his past a secret and making a new life for himself even though that is against the rules of the agency. Then a rescue team suddenly shows up to bring him home to a family he can’t even remember anymore… And Kin suddenly finds himself torn between two lives.

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I had high expectations for Here And Now And Then and this might just have been part of the problem. That and the fact that I was expecting a proper sci-fi story, and encountered myself with mostly a family drama with a lot of romance and only a hint of sci-fi instead… Definitely not what I had in mind when I started this time travel story. I wish the time travel aspect would have been more developed as well as more present in the story… It’s not a bad read and the writing is good, but the story read quite slow and as always with more character driven stories, not being able to connect to the characters puts a damper on things. I’m sure the right audience will love this debut though!


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19 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Here And Now And Then – by Mike Chen

  1. I’m with you on this one Yvo! In fact, this was a DNF for me. I gave it until about 30% but found the scientific details overwhelmed the story and I got bored. I totally agree that there was a lack of time and place for the 1990s. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This makes me slightly less bad for giving it a lower rating! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one, although it’s a shame you had to DNF it. (I do admit I was tempted at points as well)

      Liked by 1 person

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