Friday, June 13, 2014
The White Knight
Warning: this post may contain spoilers for Millennium Crash (though hopefully not for future books in the series) and I recommend reading the book first.
Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing the book, which some of you may not want to know about.
Anya’s story is the main through line of the book, but there are two more stories that weave around it. One of them is a boy-meets-girl adventure. The meeting part happens when Matt’s chivalrous nature impels him to rescue a stranger. That’s the start of a challenging puzzle for him, but it’s also the beginning of a bigger problem – because he falls for Page right away. And then other difficulties get in their way.
She requires his help, and he plays different roles in that relationship based on what she needs – being her personal assistant, watching over her like a bodyguard, and at times taking charge. But it’s not that straightforward for Matt, because he has another desire that conflicts with simply helping her. He wants to stay by her side.
The main thing she wants is to return to the summer of two thousand and find her actual assistants – which would mean she’d no longer need Matt’s help. So he tries to put that off while still helping her in other ways. Those conflicting goals, and Page’s own penchant for peril, are what propel the story forward.
On a side note, one of the results of showing this through Matt’s eyes is what it does to Page’s character. Despite Matt being smitten, the initial impression you get of her isn’t exactly flattering. But as you see and hear more of her through the book, the ground is laid to revise your opinion, and I think it’s that final chapter where you see her through Anya’s eyes (and Anya isn’t Page’s biggest fan) that finally overcomes the first impression of her character. It’s kind of like a character arc, but it’s not really Page who changes, but your perception of her (hopefully.)
Having one of the main POVs for this book being a contemporary from our own time gave me the opportunity to show how these time-travelers appeared from an outside perspective. It’s slightly ironic, then, that this ‘native’ of the late twentieth/early twenty-first century understands more about time-travel theory than the characters who’ve come from the future. But then that’s not their field—they’re all historians of various stripes.
Matt, however, is a physicist familiar with the theory—which means he’s able to grasp what’s going on and what it means fairly quickly. It might’ve been interesting to see the time-travelers from the perspective of someone who didn’t understand quite so easily, but we do get a bit of that through a couple of minor characters.
Matt’s capabilities, though, help put him higher in Page’s estimation, and add more balance to that budding relationship. For all their differences, the two have their similarities – including quick minds and (somewhat) scientific approaches to their work.
Next: Part 7 – The Judge