Chains of Time

Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
321 Pages
Reviewed on 07/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

R.B. Woodstone is an award-winning writer, educator, and musician living in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, their child, and two nutty animals.

R.B. is fascinated by stories that blend fantasy and history. He is white and respects that some people are uncomfortable with white authors writing Black characters, but he believes that white Americans must explore and address the ramifications of slavery, one of America's original sins. He is drawn to write these stories, some of which are seen best through the eyes of Black characters. To that end, R.B. labors to create Black protagonists who exist for their own sake and not as machinery to facilitate the emergence of white protagonists.

Half of the proceeds from this novel will be donated to Equal Justice Initiative.

R.B. is currently working on several novels including Time in Chains, the first sequel to Chains of Time. He is also writing a rock musical based on Dante's Inferno.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Chains of Time by R.B. Woodstone is a young adult paranormal fiction and the first book in the author's series. Chains of Time is narrated in dual timelines, the first being a historical foundation that begins with Amara, a clairvoyant bride of Africa whose wedding is interrupted by the slavers she already knew would descend on her village. The second timeline forms the future of Amara's descendants, haunted by visions of the past and the ever-present slaver Hendrik Van Owen, who wields the dominion of power drained of Amara and her betrothed Kwame, transcending and bending the linear realm of age and time. As the timelines begin to converge, it is the strength of Amara and the bevy of sacrifices made that allow for the ushering in of the next generation from a hospital in Atlanta. “Yes,” she says, “my child, my baby, newborn princess of Mkembro. And what power shall you wield, little one?”

Chains of Time is indeed a paranormal fiction, but pigeon-holing it into this single genre is a disservice to both the story and author R.B. Woodstone. The beauty of Woodstone's prose evokes the intensity and allegorical journey that is usually reserved for literary fiction. The writing is simultaneously gorgeous, terrifying, and hopeful, made much more relatable in a first-person narrative. Amara and Van Owen, both tangled in a perpetual hunt for the other, are fused together in her need to protect those she loves and his desire to retain power and control. As an antagonist Van Owen is perfect as he doggedly pursues Amara, her children, her children's children, and onward, believing the power to be his by virtue of God, and Amara and her descendants to be his property. Slaves through eternity. Whether intended or not, what strikes me the most is the bondage that parallels with actual, real-life race relations. Amara and Van Owen may be fictional, but the subjugation of race still screams in the face of civil liberties even today, making Woodstone's work more poignant than ever.

K.C. Finn

Chains of Time is a work of fiction in the paranormal and fantasy sub-genres and was penned for young adult audiences by author R. B. Woodstone. Written as the opening novel to a whole new series, this intriguing work follows the adventures of Amara, a young African woman in the nineteenth century, and her descendants in the modern world. When Amara is blessed with the gift of prophecy and sees a terrible fate ahead as the slavers arrive to take her people away, so begins a magical battle for African freedom. Wizardry and wit take on modern warfare in this dangerous and exciting work.

One of the things I most admired about the work of author R. B. Woodstone was the way that many different genres of novels were layered into this central story in order to make it rich and fully rounded. Though the work is rooted in fantasy and magical realism, there’s a highly realistic quality to the historical content and the experience of Africans in the tragedy of the slave trade, one which gives true emotional resonance to the work. Young adult and adult readers alike can appreciate the sophistication of ideas, which are layered into an exciting plot and a powerful storyline that blends present and past exceedingly well. I also felt that the dialogue was very engaging and characterized the emotional state of different figures well. Overall, I would recommend Chains of Time to a diverse range of readers seeking an authentically voiced new paranormal adventure.

Romuald Dzemo

Chains of Time: A Novel by R.B. Woodstone is a blend of young adult and paranormal genres. It is a story with strong themes and historical hints. On her wedding day, young Amara discovers that she is gifted with the supernatural power of prophecy. She can see into the future, and in her visions she sees the immortal slaver Van Owen as he arrives on the African shores. She sees things before they happen, the savage waters, the ship, and the tall and gaunt, ghostly white Owen, with his unblemished garments. She is betrothed to Kwame, son of Berantu, and hers is supposed to be a wedding designed to bind their people together—what her father had hoped for—so they can stand as one against the might of the Glele. But she sees a powerful adversary and chaos in the future and, perhaps, her freedom.

Chains of Time explores the theme of slavery, the quest for freedom, and a people clamoring for redemption. It is filled with pathos and the author does an impeccable job in presenting an African setting filled with warring people. This weakens them against a powerful enemy. The story is told in the voice of the seer, Amara, and it begins on her wedding day with a disturbing statement: “I know what’s going to happen.” The first person narrative voice is gripping and it pulls the reader in, forcing them into the narrator’s perspective. Chains of Time: A Novel is a multi-generational story that has strong subplots and characters that are memorable. R.B. Woodstone transports readers to a period in time that feels real and exciting.

Lesley Jones

In Chains of Time by R.B. Woodstone, the daughter of the Berantu tribal leader, Princess Amara, visualized what was to befall her and her loved ones on her wedding day to the son of another tribal leader. She knew that even by uniting both tribes, it would not be enough to conquer the invading men led by Van Owens. Her prophecy would, unfortunately, come true, and she witnessed appalling crimes against humanity aboard the slave ship which took her from Africa toward Van Owens's plantation in America. Amara was able to see into the future and communicate with her descendants in 1955 Harlem and guide them to use their inherited powers wisely. From Amara's fight to free herself from the clutches of Van Owens who had killed everyone she loves, to her descendants, the Kelly family, discover how together they must unite to end the immortal force that is intent on destroying them. That force is Van Owens.

Chains of Time by R.B. Woodstone is an exceptional story that will place you in the heart and mind of each of the amazing characters. You will feel their pain as they battle their own personal experiences, trying to find their voice, calling, and way in life. Prepared to be moved by this story and the absolute horrors of slavery and the Civil War. However, what is more poignant is the treatment of blacks once slavery was apparently abolished. The powerful storyline of relationship dynamics within the Kelly family, and each child trying to figure out the meaning behind their 'gifts', is filled with tension and twists and turns. Amara's fight to free herself from slavery and her heroic battle against evil adds yet another layer of interest. I loved how the author tied all the loose ends up at the end, as the generations of a family came together and used their strength as one powerful force. This is a unique story that delves deep into the historical abuse of a people but has dynamic pockets of excitement, heartbreak, and the paranormal. Highly recommended.

Ruffina Oserio

Chains of Time: A Novel by R.B. Woodstone is a coming-of-age, young adult, and paranormal story that follows Amara, a young African girl betrothed to Kwame, son of Berantu, leader of the Merlante people. The wedding is designed to seal a peace pact between two warring peoples. But on the eve of her wedding, the gods begin to send Amara strange, yet vivid visions. She sees them with clarity; the ghostly figure of the slaver Van Owen arriving in Africa. She sees these dreams in every detail. It is also strange that she understands their language. This is a story of slavery, one that will pit African wizardry against the white guns. But what becomes of Amara at the end?

The story begins on the eve of Amara’s wedding and the reader is intrigued by the visions that she has. A woman who is about to marry the next king and who receives disturbing visions from the gods immediately caught my attention and I wanted to know what will happen to her and to her people when the legendary and vicious slaver lands on the shores. This is a poignant tale of a people betrayed by themselves and the inhumanity of the white slavers in African lands. The author does an impeccable job in exploring themes of family, African tradition, slavery, and the role played by people like Glele to give more power to the enemy. Chains of Time: A Novel is filled with emotionally rich scenes. The setting features a turbulent Africa weakened by tribal squabbles and the chaos that ensues with the arrival of a powerful slaver. An engrossing story that will keep the reader awake throughout the night.