There's part of me that wants to go off on this novel describing all the problems I had with it -- the uninspired writing, the bland characters, the unnecessary plotlines, the preposterous nature of so much of the story -- after all, I did spend days stuck in this mire. But I just don't care enough -- and it'd just be mean.
So let me keep this brief, something Shackleford could try. There are few sentences that couldn't be at least 1/3 shorter -- the novel as a whole could be 1/3 shorter and would be much more effective. On any number of episodes of The Once and Future Podcast host Anton Strout has talked about young writers over-sharing their world building -- this is a perfect example of it. I can't tell you how many pages are devoted to the accidental invention of this time machine -- how much drama surrounds it, how questionably the term "research" is tossed around, etc. -- and beyond the fact that a time machine that can only transfer people 1000 years to the past and back is accidentally created, we don't need any of it. Nothing else in the first part of the book (I'm guessing 200+ pages) devoted to that matters. At all.
The worldbuilding is the best part of the book, and it's overdone. That's all I'm going to bother with on this one -- it's just not worth it. This was clearly a labor of love, but sadly, not an affection that I can share at all.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this post.