Paris Adrift by E. J. Swift
Publication date: 08 February 2018
Genre: Science fiction
Page count: 320 pages
Format: Paperback proof
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I’m so happy to be part of the Paris Adrift blog tour! This weird and wonderful book is one that has stuck with me long after reading.
So let’s start out by saying that Paris Adrift is a very strange and surreal book. If the surreal isn’t your thing, I’d suggest approaching with caution. However if you’re in the mood for something a little different, Paris Adrift could be your perfect read.
The Time Machine meets Midnight In Paris
Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. She falls in with the eclectic expat community as a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge.
Here she meets Gabriela, a bartender who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family. But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris.
Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns, as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.*
Paris Adrift combines science fiction, historical fiction, and magical realism in a love letter to contemporary Paris. It took a little bit of mental adjusting to the setting and story, however when I got there I was 100% in. It winds through the city streets, both past and present, and I find myself thinking about the book long after I finished reading it. For me, the best parts of the book were the wonderful descriptions of the city, particularly the nightlife inside the bar, and the time travel aspect. The very best bits were set in the past, and I loved the way that Swift handles the time travel tropes.
I didn’t find the characters as strong as the setting and themes, but they definitely enhanced the book. Paris Adrift is told from Hallie’s perspective. She’s fled her life in England and manages to get a job at Millie’s bar. She’s just as bewildered by the events of the plot as we are, and I really liked the way she rolled with it. I liked her as a character, however she didn’t really stand out. In fact, almost none of the characters stood out for me with the exception of one that Hallie meets in historical Paris (no spoilers, but you’ll know who I’m talking about when you read it. She’s amazing).
With the exception of one or two, I thought the secondary characters felt more like window dressing. They added to Hallie’s story and worked well within the setting however I didn’t feel they did much. I only struggled with one character in this book and that was Gabriela. I can’t say much without spoilers, but she made some poor decisions and I wasn’t a fan of her character. She is the kind of person I wouldn’t like in real life. I feel like I’ve met her before, and we are very different people. All of this doesn’t mean the book doesn’t pack an emotional punch — it has some powerful emotional moments that I loved. The ending is particularly spectactular!
Overall, Paris Adrift is a great book for anyone looking for something a little different. The way it blends sci-fi elements with historical fiction, two totally opposite genres, is quite skillful. This is a book to read if you’re interested in lovely writing and gorgeous descriptions rather than a character-driven plot. It’s a strange book, but incredibly refreshing.
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Have you read Paris Adrift? Does it sound like something you’d like to read? Is it in your TBR? Let me know!
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads