Book Review: Time’s Children (The Islevale Cycle Book 1) by D. B. Jackson

Tobias is a Walker, which means he can travel back in time. When he gets sent to serve at the royal court of Daerjen, he agrees to walk back 15 years in order to prevent a war, even though his body will age 15 years on the trip to the past and 15 more years on the return trip to the present. But things go wrong, and Tobias gets stuck in the past, protecting the infant princess, creating a future that's even worse.

Book Review: Time's Children (The Islevale Cycle Book 1) by D. B. Jackson | reading, books, book reviews, high fantasy, time travel
Title: Time's Children
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 528
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

A 15-year-old in a 29-year-old body, stuck 14 years in the past, trying to keep a baby safe and change the future for the better. That was a premise that caught my attention. It’s unique and intriguing but also very heavy and sad when you realize that no one, especially a teenager, should have to sacrifice that much or have that much responsibility put on their shoulders. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think this is a good time for some lists!

Things I Disliked:

– The book was a little too slow-paced for my taste.

– There were a lot of descriptions of settings (rooms, cities, buildings).

– There were multiple POVs, and I liked some more than others.Ā  But the various POVs did give the book a slightly more epic feel with a wider scope, without going overboard, so that’s something some readers may like.

– This is not my preferred version of time travel—the kind where characters are actually able to change the outcome of the future. However, I accepted that as the premise of the book going in, so I can’t really complain about that.

Things I Liked:

– The creativity of the Walkers, Crossers, and Spanners. Walkers can walk back in time. Crossers can pass through wood or stone. Spanners can teleport over distances. But they all require training and the proper tools, and there are rules and limits and sometimes consequences (like how Walkers age whatever amount of time they travel, both when they go back in time and when they go forward to get back to the present).

– The creativity of the whole premise. A 15-year-old in a 29-year-old body getting stuck in the past and having to keep the princess, who’s only a baby, safe, with assassins following close behind.

– The main characters were good people who were trying to do the right thing, so they were easy to root for.

– The heavy topics were handled with the seriousness they deserved. No teen should have to sacrifice as much as Tobias did, or take on as much responsibility as he did, and those things were not taken lightly or glossed over. This whole book had a heavy, serious feel to it. And the dark scenes, violence, etc. were written well. I feel like the author found the perfect balance of not being gratuitous in his descriptions of violence but not pulling any punches or sugar-coating things either. (Trigger Warning: *MILD SPOILER* There were some fairly explicit scenes of torture, but it was a brief section that could be skipped, I think, if need be. *END SPOILER*)

– Interesting supernatural creatures. Like time demons that fed upon the years of life left in a person and loved riddles, and mist demons that loved song.

– The writing flowed well.


– Just a heads up, since at the time of this review it’s not stated on the Goodreads page, this is the first in a series (a trilogy, I believe). So this is only the beginning of the story for these characters.


As I said, this was a little slow-paced with a little too much description for my taste, but I still thought it was a good book. The writing and the creativity made this a worthwhile read that I think many fans of high fantasy, time travel, and fantasy/sci-fi mashups will like.


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  1. Greg

    Dude you’re reading time travel again! :):))) Sorry this was slow though. I do agree that the premise is a lot to put on a teenager- giving up their twenties basically, yikes. Getting stuck in the past to would definitely suck! I’m not sure I’ve ever read about aging quite like that though, and it is kinda of intriguing! A lot of times they just say oh yeah you went back (or forward) and you’re there, maybe it’s tough on the body but the aging thing is actually kind of uncommon?

    Also people on the run/ being chased by assassins while time traveling can be fun. šŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I know! I read TWO time travel books recently! What’s happening?? Lol. Definitely really heavy when you think about the premise. And it’s not just his 20s he’s giving up. If/when he gets back to the present, he’ll lose another 15 years, so there goes his 30s too. I’ve never seen this aging concept either, but it does add an extra thought-provoking element.

  2. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    Sorry to hear this one was a little slow, but otherwise it sounds really good. I love the idea of the spinners and the walkers. I just finished a time travel novel yesterday and am really in the mood for another so I may have to look into this series.

  3. Olivia Roach

    Ah, getting tricky with time travel again. Always a win lose when it comes to books. But the creativity behind this one intrigues me, and the dark heavy stuff too. It sounds like all of that is done really well. A shame about the slow pace though… hmm… again another one which I am not quite sure is one I should pick up. Did you like it enough to want to read the sequel?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m trying to learn to just go with it when it comes to time travel. I don’t want to miss out on otherwise good books just because I have time travel issues lol. Like this, it just sounded so interesting! I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue. It was a good book, but idk if it really hooked me enough to want to read more. But on the other hand, I am kinda curious how things will turn out.

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    Your review does have me curious, Kristen. This isn’t something I’d pick up on my own but I like the sound of it. The premise is certainly novel and it does seem fairly well written. I’ll have to see if I can request it into my library. šŸ™‚ Great review!

  5. verushka

    Pacing is something that can annoy me, but I am still intrigued by the premise, and that the book doesn’t gloss over some heavy topics. Great Review, Kristen — and a heads up for a unique book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Slow isn’t inherently bad, but it doesn’t always work so well for me, especially lately since I’ve been reading so many slow-paced books for some reason. I definitely appreciated though how the heavy topics were handled and loved the premise!

  6. Lola

    That does sound like an original set-up. And how interesting he actually ages while traveling in time, that’s certainly different. I am not a fan of time travel in general, as I always struggle with the concept. It sounds like the multiple point of views have a role, even tough you liked some more than others.

    The different types of people sound interesting and with how they need the proper tools and there are consequences as well. It sounds a bit dark and serious, but it’s also good they those topics aren’t handled lightly.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’ve never seen a story where the time travelers age each time they travel. That made it so much more thought-provoking and serious. Yeah, time travel really only makes sense to me in one way, but I’m trying to not let that stop me from reading books I’m interested in.

      There were some really cool ideas in this one!

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Wow, I love the concept and I really like that the time-travel aspect had consequences. Not just on timelines but also for the individual so time-travel isn’t taken lightly. The slow pacing sounds annoying and I get that could be offputting but the idea sounds so interesting I am interested in how it all goes.