“Hope For The Best – Chronicles of St. Mary’s #10” by Jodi Taylor

Clever plot, infused with gentle humour that entertained but lacked the personal angst and historical set-pieces that make the series sparkle.

The strong point in this tenth episode of St. Mary’s is the plot. Max finally puts together a cunning plan to capture her arch-enemy, Ronan and has to leave St. Mary’s for a secondment to the Time Police to put it into action. I didn’t guess how this would work and I certainly didn’t see the end coming.

With Max moving to the Time Police, the focus moves from History to Time. I thought this was handled well, especially in the way the collapse of the timeline and the plan to try and fix it were described, but I found myself missing the historical set-pieces: the prep, the how-will-St.-Mary’s-mess-it-up-this-time suspense and the wow-it-feels-like-I’m-there evocation of events.

The book keeps that distinctive mix of subversive humour and deep devotion to duty against all odds that, for me, defines St. Marys and it was what I enjoyed most about this book. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to spend more time in Max’s company.

In the past few books, being in Max’s company has been a fairly emotionally exhausting experience, given all the things that have happened to her. This time, although Max was almost constantly at risk of being killed, I never really felt more than curiosity about how she would get out of trouble this time.

It was an entertaining read with a plot that tied up a lot of loose ends and revisited old actions in new and clever ways but didn’t quite get there for me in terms of feeling real threat.

Still, I’ll be there for book eleven whenever Jodi Taylor produces it.

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