Cover Image: The Observer Effect

The Observer Effect

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"We often see vulnerability as a weakness, but the truth is that strength is about being honest, authentic, and brave enough to show people who we are." -from chapter 34
And this is also why the book succeeds. It takes the time to show us not only what the characters are doing, but what emotionally drives them to do it. Even better, this is typically done through delicious subtext.

My full video review with detailed thoughts is at https://youtu.be/u59KqqJaLEw?t=798

In this book, Joseph Bridgeman is still picking up the pieces from his previous time travel adventures when he is recruited to a new mission. This one involves a 1873 opera house fire (yes, the opera does have a phantom, yes that phantom may or may not be a time traveller).

One of the frameworks of this book is putting together pieces without full context. And that is a compliment! This creates many little mysteries in this book (in how time travel really works, in character motivations, etc). Every time I figured out one of these little mysteries, I got such a thrill (and even when it turned out that I had reached the wrong conclusion, that did not lessen my delight). The main character is living a life in a parallel dimension than the one he is used to (kind of, it’s time travel after all), and having to adjust again and again to the curveballs that life throws at him. He is constantly dealing with situations without the right context, and having to work through it anyway. This gives the book such a rich layer of emotional complexity. It’s further impressive that these layers are a direct fallout of character actions in a previous book (and real consequences in a story are one of my favorite things).

(Coincidentally, my experience of reading this book was also one lacking proper context. This is the third in the series, and I haven’t read books 1 or 2. Being confused with the details of time travel ALONGSIDE the narrator was such a pleasure, and helped me feel like I was still along for the adventure. It’s okay to be a little confused in this book, because that’s part of the ride.)

Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the gifted book!

I sure hope this isn't the last book in the series! The first book introduced the characters and part of the concept. The second pivoted to make sure this could be a series, and in this third book the story really hits its stride as we get more of a character arc for Joe and so many more pieces to the puzzle that this series will unfold to be. I really liked the new characters introduced in this book and the morality questions really pondered by them as they consider the power of time travel and their actions in it to change things.
Was this review helpful?
The Observer Effect is the third Joseph Bridgeman time travel mystery by Nick Jones. Released 15th March 2022 by Blackstone, it's 344 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. 

I have always loved time travel stories. I devoured every episode of Dr. Who, Star Trek, every story and book about time travel with gusto. Obviously some were better than others, but I loved (and still love) them all. This series is one of the better representatives of the genre. It's full of fun history and watershed moments for the reluctant hero, hapless but plucky Joe, to right and to try and help untangle. He's an unlikely everyman hero, really relatable, muddling along the best he can manage and trying to fix what he can fix. 

The writing is solid and additionally filled with small comedic moments that made me grin. Mr. Jones managed to write believable flowing dialogue which is never choppy or uneven. The action flows and in between fighting for his life, Joe has a fair number of quiet scenes where he interacts with his family and friends and grows as a character.

It's an ensemble cast and like lots of very well written quest stories, every part is integral to the whole. The plot, denouement, and resolution are quite cleverly constructed and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series with anticipation. It's *full* of time paradoxes and the way the characters solve them are clever and believable (in context). 

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of  12 hours 7 minutes and is capably narrated by Ray Porter. He does an impressive job with wide ranging geographical accents and genders. I absolutely love his voice for Vince, who reminds me a lot of my very fond memories of Brian Glover in Mystery! as Magersfontein Lugg (Campion series). When the book started, I was afraid that Mr. Porter's very gravelly baritone would be too strong for the part (I "hear" Joe up in my head as very put upon and almost whingey sometimes) but I soon warmed to him and he's very versatile and definitely enhanced the read a lot. Sound quality and production values were high throughout the recording.

Five stars. Fun, clever, and entertaining. Five stars also for the audiobook version.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
Was this review helpful?
Joe Bridgeman is back home in 2020, after his previous time travelling adventures in 1960s London, where he prevented the death of a woman critically important to the future. Working in his London antiques store, he’s wondering if he will ever get to travel in time again, when he’s contacted by the Continuum, an organisation of time travellers formed in the future. They have a new job for him to do if he’s willing to time travel again.

One of their agents has disappeared and appears to have been kidnapped by a rogue time traveller. He has been tracked to Paris in 1873, to the site of the Salle Le Peletier Opera House just before it was destroyed in a fire. Although time travel doesn’t allow the Continuum to change large events in history that were observed by a lot of people, such as the fire itself, they are able to make subtle changes to less observed events that may impact on the future. The Continuum is sending agent Gabrielle Green to change the outcome of the fire for one man in particular. If Joe accepts the new job, he will accompany Gabrielle on her mission back in time to Paris in an attempt to locate the missing agent and send him home.

This third novel in the series builds on the events that occurred in the first two books. Although the novel could still be enjoyed as a stand-alone, it’s worthwhile taking the time to make the whole journey with Joe and his sister Amy from the beginning of the series. In this episode, Joe not only learns more about how to use his own special abilities but also about the Continuum and its work. The mix of some magic with some futuristic scifi in the novel makes for a good combination to support the rules and mechanism of the time travel without going overboard with gadgets and wizardry.

The dynamics between the characters are one of the best features of this series and the prickly relationship between Gabrielle and Joe adds some amusement to the novel as well as leaving Joe stumbling in the dark working things out for himself. Fortunately, back in 2020, Joe has his best friend Vinny, who accompanied on his trip to 1960s London and understands what he has been through to help keep him grounded. Vinny is such a delightful character with his love of life and unique approach to problems that I really hope he gets to accompany Joe on another trip at some stage. 

This is both a smart and fun time travel series. Nineteenth century Paris comes vividly alive in full colour and texture as Gabrielle and Joe visit the opera house and its staff and patrons just prior to and during the fire. Although the tale of the Phantom of the Opera is associated with the Palais Garnier, the subsequent home of the Paris Opera after the fire, glimpses of a phantom might be seen in this opera house. Against this colourful backdrop, it’s easy to become engrossed in this fascinating plot which culminates in a thrilling climax. Fortunately, Nick Jones has left the way open for Joe to engage in more time travelling adventures in the future as he becomes further involved with the Continuum.
Was this review helpful?
Another entertaining and compelling addition to this series featuring time traveler. It's fast paced and gripping, the world building is excellent, and I loved the storytelling.
Can't wait to read the next story by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC of this upcoming novel through NetGalley.  Many thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley.  “The Observer Effect” is another entry in author Nick Jones’ engaging time-travelling series.  In this one, Joseph Bridgeman is sent to 1876 Paris by the Continuum, an organization of time-travellers, to rescue a missing member of the ogranization.  His is accompanied by Gabrielle, a sarcastic time traveller who makes no attempt to hide her dislike of Joseph.  This is a fun, engaging read which also makes you think.  Joseph’s actions in the past have repercussions and effects on the future.
Was this review helpful?
Author Nick Jones offers the third in his time travel series, this time with far more elaborate details about the organization behind the traveling for his protagonist, Joseph Bridgeman.  THE OBSERVER EFFECT relies upon the previous two installments for a certain amount of ambiance and energy, although they are not crucial to the plot. Our Everyman protagonist, we learn, is somewhat more elevated in skills than the previous books suggested.  He is special after all.  These are fun and engaging books that offer complex plots with the promise of further adventures.  I can’t wait.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Not going to lie, I didn't realize this wasn't the first book and spent a lot of time feeling lost. Stopped reading and am going to get book one and begin from there. Liked it enough to do that, so I have high hopes!
Was this review helpful?
This is another great addition to this series. I love the idea of time travel and that time nudges folks to fix things in the past that shouldn’t have happened. Hope this is a long series.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks again to NetGalley for an electronic advanced readers copy of this book. I really enjoyed this book, even though it is the 3rd one in the series and I didn't read the first two. It reminded me of James Rollins' "Sigma Force" series except instead of super smart secret agents this book focused on time travelers. Nick Jones did a great job of reintroducing key characters and their relationships for new readers without making what I would think is tiresome for established readers. The plot was very interesting and I really enjoyed the different dynamics between characters like Joe and Gabrielle. Definitely want to check out the rest of this series.
Was this review helpful?