Time travel comfort food! This book starts out as adult time travel Hogwarts: masking as an institute, St Mary dabbles in non-invasive time travel. Sorry, investigates major historical events in contemporary time. Our protagonist, a woman of distinctly urban fantasy heroine characteristics, is a historian and has to go through some harsh training (yay for training sequences) to join the small team retrieving information from the past.
The beginning is cute and popcorn-y: the protagonist’s academia snark is funny and enjoyable, and the story moves down a pretty regular path. When the time comes to escalate, though, it escalates rather dramatically and goes to a pretty dark place. I’m not sure it does it very well, but I appreciated the effort.
I enjoyed a lot of minor stuff: the protagonist is oblivious in a way that the text only calls out indirectly. She is also a historian with a focus on ancient history, and the intra-historian bickering was delightful. I think compared to other Urban Fantasy, this series could have stood to introduce the series-wide conflict a bit later, but I appreciate the book being upfront about where the series is going to go. While it’s no great literature, it’s generally a fun read, with the exception of the two sex scenes, which try for the same levity as The Calculating Stars did, and it works just as not. And, of course, don’t look too closely at the logic and logistics. I’m looking forward to reading the second part.