All Our Yesterdays is a thrilling and hilarious science fiction novel that finally, finally does justice to time machines. Though the switching of POVs is somewhat confusing and messes with your head, there is a great balance of grit, action, humour, and emotion. Together with fantastic characters, a fascinating plot, and frequent twists, Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays definitely manages to convince me that time travel can not only be real, but can also be a looming threat to the life we know.
The characters are as multi-layered as onions, and throughout the story, you find yourself peeling back layer after layer, only to discover not the core, but more underlying emotions and hidden thoughts. Every chapter, the vibrant personalities jump off the page. One of my favourite things that the author brilliantly does is the past and present of the same character, where readers can clearly tell the difference between a naïve, lovestruck girl and an independent, transformed young woman.
As a whole, the book is very well paced. It includes an ample amount of suspense and tension that keeps your finger trembling mid-air over the next page in anticipation. I loved the unique plot twists, and frequently found myself smiling along with the characters as I read about their witty banter.
The political details are explained clearly and are somewhat reasonable given the circumstances, but parts where the characters solve a problem with barely any clues are questionable. I also doubt that professional security personnel are blind enough to continuously miss several teenagers, but Terrill made it work (though it is, nonetheless, unrealistic).
Cristin Terrill’s first novel is nothing if not ambitious. We have space-time manipulations, paradoxical concepts, multiple timelines, and quite a number of assassination attempts. Overall, All Our Yesterdays is more than just a sci-fi thriller. It has values and morals as well, and reminds us gravely that technology is a double-edged sword, and that too much power can blind even people with seemingly good intentions. Most importantly, this novel also spreads the lesson to be strong and confident, to be humble, and to love and respect ourselves and others more. All Our Yesterdays is a stunning debut that I would definitely recommend to science-fiction, action, and thrill seekers. 4/5!