When days tilt by Karen Ginnane

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When Days Tilt is a young adult fantasy novel from Australian children’s author, Karen Ginnane. The book is split between two worlds, two characters and two realities. In 1850s London, Ava is an apprentice to her watchmaker father. Bored and unfulfilled by the future set out for her, she dreams of adventure but is shocked when she finds it.

Meanwhile, in the mirror version city of Donlon, Jack is an orphan learning to be a blacksmith. What begins as a normal day ends in horror when one good deed catapults him into unexpected danger. When Ava and Jack meet they feel an instant connection; as if they have known each other all their lives. As they endeavour to untangle the secrets of their pasts and families, they must race against time to stop a mysterious villain who threatens the people of both of their worlds.

When Days Tilt is a unique story. The novel revolves around the themes of time and space with both historical and futuristic elements used, due to its dual settings. Ava and Jack are sympathetic and believable characters. Their clear motivations explain the choices they make throughout the book.

Unfortunately however, the last act of the novel feels rushed and confused, as Ginnane introduces new characters, events and plot lines with far too little of the story left to play out. When Days Tilt is intended to be the first in a series so while the author can be excused for laying the groundwork for the next installation, it is clumsily done.

Nevertheless, When Days Tilt is an engaging historical fantasy that will be enjoyed by children and young adults.

Themes: Family, Time, Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, London.

Rose Tabeni