When sixteen-year-old Sam Rayner moves abroad with his family, he is forced to leave behind everyone and everything he holds dear. As he struggles to settle in his new surroundings, Sam thinks his situation cannot get any worse, however a shocking terrorist attack turns his world on its head.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury, he wakes up in hospital to discover that he has developed seizures during which he slips into the body of a past or future self. Can Sam and his friends somehow defeat the sinister forces that want to use his powers for their own ends? Can they manage to save Sam’s family from violent deaths that are already in the past – and, maybe also, win the girl he loves – by turning back the pages of time?
Sam reached for the business card Inspector Hinds had left and realised he was shaking all over. Again, the strange, sweet smell of burning caramel came. The world seemed to pulse; a bubble expanding and then contracting. A bead of sweat ran down his forehead and rolled to the tip of his nose, where it gathered, gaining weight, and then dropped. The hall outside fell oddly silent. He looked down. The droplet of sweat hung in midair, suspended at the level of his waist. It was as if someone had pressed pause on a recording, leaving Sam standing in a snapshot of the moment.
Then things got stranger still. Without deciding to, he turned and climbed back into bed, his muscles going through the motions outside of his control. The bed sheet leaped back and wrapped itself over his legs like a living thing. Sam tried to shout for help, but found he had no voice. He was locked in, viewing the last few seconds rewind before his eyes.
The door stuttered open like movement seen under a strobe light; a string of still images shown one after the other, each connected but separate. Hinds walked in backwards. Her twitching moonwalk was like a drawing in a flipbook, played back to front. She turned to face Sam, scooped her business card from the bedside table and put it back in her pocket. The images gradually sped up, the gap between each flash of the strobe shortening until they blended into one. Hinds’s mouth moved up and down impossibly fast, her spasmodic gestures a blur. After a while she turned and reversed out of the room, then Mary walked in, also backwards. She began to speak, her lips fluttering up and down without sound, before she too reversed out.
Sam was alone again, but still unable to move. The sky outside the window brightened, clouds casting jerky shadows across the walls. Eventually Mary returned, back to front again and dragging a wheelchair. In one disjointed movement she heaved Sam out of bed, spun him into the chair and reversed into the corridor, pulling him behind her. People flew past on either side, all walking backwards, their limbs twitching like malfunctioning windup toys.
They reached Sam’s mother’s room. Mary scooped him up, dropped him roughly on the floor and knocked the wheelchair over. The room started to spin faster and faster until it became a blur, and then he blacked out.
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“I found The Pages of Time a very chilling, amazing book. It’s well-paced, unpredictable, and it keeps you on your toes.”
Jess @ Princessica of Books (www.princessicaofbooks.wordpress.com)