The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen came to me through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. I read it during last month’s Readathon.

About the Book:

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen (cover)Zed has been sent from the future to a time around our own. His mission? Keep history (and thus, the seemingly perfect future from which he comes) intact by preventing counter-agents from tampering with events that shaped the course of human existence. All while keeping a low profile and disturbing history by his presence as little as possible.

It’s that latter part he begins to mess up first — his path crosses others’ more than it should. And once that ground begins to crumble, what’s to keep the entire mission from slipping out of his control?

My Thoughts:

The Revisionists is an interesting book, a sort of Dystopian-thriller hybrid. It moves, but not as quickly as I’d expected. It contains lots of contrasting pairs: our present vs. Zed’s, the agents from Zed’s time sent to disrupt history and those sent to preserve it — even the narration, which moves between Zed’s first-person narrative and the third-person accounts of people whose lives brush against Zed’s. These separations start out very distinct, but as the lines between them begin to blur, Zed’s highly structured mission and mindset break down as well. I found the way the structure mirrors the plot rather interesting.

I got a bit muddled in the middle of the book. There is so much going on, so many groups pretending to be other groups but really connected to this or that company that at times I was rather lost. That might have been because I read most of the book in a single sitting, or it may have been intentional on the author’s part. Certainly, some of the characters experience that same sense of confusion. Also, the main plot of The Revisionists takes place in our present, Zed’s past. So, the only glimpses we get of Zed’s own time are through his eyes, his memories. We experience his current mission in the same way, having only his personal account on which to rely. His misunderstandings and assumptions about why he must do what he does are our own. I liked watching the story lines clarify and converge as I neared the novel’s end.

Speaking of endings, I won’t tell you how The Revisionists ends, but I will say I found it quite satisfactory. I think books like this one can be difficult to conclude well, and Mullen took his ending to a place I thought fit the story and characters and that I could believe — at least, as much as I could believe any of the story.

My one criticism of The Revisionists is that it was a bit overly philosophical. Zed gets into a questioning phase, which in theory I can understand but that, in reality, came on too strong. I can see why he would be asking over and over the things he does, but I got a little tired of hearing about it. I don’t think these themes had to be made so explicit in order for the reader to grasp them. On the whole, though, The Revisionists was inventive and fun to read and made for a nice way to pass a chunk of hours during the Readathon.

Those are my thoughts. Check out The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen on Goodreads or LibraryThing, or read other bloggers’ reviews:

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  1. I liked this one too but at times it was slightly heavy on the ‘why is this happening’ questions by the main character and somewhat confusing which I think was intentional. I think the reader was supposed to be as confused as Zed but sometimes it just left me annoyed. Overall it was good though and I think I’d read something by Mullen again.

  2. I have a copy of this one, and am anxious to get started with it. It seems like it would be the perfect book to become ensnared with, and I love the synopsis. I am going to have to try to pick this one up soon and see what I think of it. Fantastic and honest review of this one. I appreciated it!

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