An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim – Book Review

Title: An Ocean of Minutes (review copy)

Author: Thea Lim

Genre/Themes: Speculative Fiction, Flu Pandemic, Time Travel

Blurb from Goodreads

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

My Review

I gobbled this book up in one day! I found it utterly fascinating and was gripped by the storyline from the get go.

The premise is that by the year 1981 America is in the deadly clutches of a flu pandemic. In this version of reality, time travel has been made possible in the future by a large corporation. Originally it was hoped that a flu vaccine from the future could be sent back to before the initial outbreak that caused the pandemic. However, due to an absence of technology time travel cannot occur back to a time period before that initial flu outbreak.


People from time periods after the flu pandemic has erupted can travel into the future.

This is how we come to meet our protagonist Polly. She is a twenty-something year old who is desperate to do anything to save her boyfriend Frank who has contracted the virus. Thusly, she makes a deal with this corporation that in exchange for her travelling on a one-way trip twelve years into the future and agreeing to work for them for a bonded period of time her boyfriend Frank will be entitled to life saving medical care.

She and Frank agree to meet again in September 1993 in Galveston, Texas at a specific landmark…

But somehow Polly ends up in a very strange 1998 and is unable to find Frank.

America, as Polly knew it, has changed entirely and is now divided into the United States and America. And Polly learns that the small-print of her bonded deal with the corporation means she has next to zero rights and is indentured to work for over thirty months to earn her freedom with extra time always being added on in exchange for life’s basic necessities.

This was a great book from a sheer storytelling aspect. I was very much invested in seeing how the plot would develop and how, or even if, Polly would ever be able to find Frank 17 years in to this new future. It had a really great dystopian vibe with some really interesting plot twists story-wise.

Where this book fell a little flat for me was primarily with the characters. I never truly felt that great love story between Polly and Frank, and as a main character Polly was somewhat bland emotionally. Sadly I never truly empathised with her as a character. And disappointingly, none of the supporting characters truly felt memorable. They were merely names rather than fully fleshed out three-dimensional characters that could make me feel anything for them whether that was sympathy or hatred.

And also at times I felt the descriptive writing became rather confusing to read. There were paragraphs that felt disjointed from Polly’s reality and really interrupted the flow of the narrative.

But overall I still enjoyed this book because of that great storytelling aspect. It was certainly a page turner and a very quick read that I think is perfectly suited to anyone’s light summer reading list for 2018. And can I just say, I utterly love that title!!! I think ‘An Ocean of Minutes’ perfectly encapsulates the story in this book.

An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Quercus, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Published: June 2018

My Socials

11 thoughts on “An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim – Book Review

  1. Its true though! Poorly developed characters put such a dampener on the overall vibe of the book! And that good-for-nothing romance angle that failed to impress!!! IT MAKES ME SOO MAD WHEN AUTHORS TRY TO FORCE ROMANCE WHERE THERE IS NO NEED TO BE! If it feels natural to the two characters, then by all means but WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PUT IT EVERYWHERE?! If it doesnt feel good, DONT DO IT! There are PLENTY of ways a story can develop WITHOUT there being a romance between those specific characters!

    Liked by 1 person

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