‘Alice Payne Rides’ Review: Creating the Right Shade of History

Alice Payne Rides returns us to a world of time travel, filled with daring missions and elaborate plots to keep the world running. This sequel to Alice Payne Arrives adds a new and welcome complexity to the many storylines Alice finds herself in. The race is on to prevent the erasure of a key character from the future, and to keep certain events from the 11th century on track. It’s always fascinating to follow the path of a time traveler and now that we have a group of four, the journey is even more exciting.

Now that the novelty of time travel has died down a bit, we’re able to get to know these characters closely. The relationship between Alice and Jane blossoms, with heartfelt moments that give us a love to root for. We see Alice as the master of her own house, and her own destiny. She continues to work with Prudence, trying to tweak the past to benefit the future. Captain Auden is now onboard, recruited to their mission and central to a number of dangerous situations. As a group, they make an experienced, dedicated bunch who are committed to creating a positive future and looking out for one another. There are conflicts aplenty and they rise to the occasion, prepared to do the right thing.

The world itself continues to fascinate. Heartfield does a great job analyzing the various aspects of time travel and how it can change your opinion of humanity. Early on, General Almo expresses the opinion that no one person matters in the scheme of history. His philosophy reduces history to an impersonal textbook, with him as the bored writer continuously erasing and re-writing passages. He doesn’t see the power one person can make on the chain of events, and that’s why he underestimates our team of travelers. They know the difference one decision can make and they act on that knowledge in favor of saving those who would be lost to the General’s schemes.

Alice Payne Rides is a fitting sequel, giving us a new depth to Alice and her crew while expanding the worldview and introducing a few potential conflicts that could darken the future. It’s a compelling journey that needs to be experienced.

Alice Payne Rides

By Kate Heartfield
Tor.com


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