Chase Across Time: Search for the Ice Castle of Fire
Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler
Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Dawn Colclasure for Reader Views (01/2023)
In “Chase Across Time: Search for the Ice Castle of Fire” by authors Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler, Danny Day is an average 10-year-old kid who doesn’t have special powers like most of his peers. On a mission to rescue his parents from the evil Lord Daaggerd, Danny assembles a crew of regular kids from different time periods and different countries and, in the process, he learns that despite being a Non (a person without powers), he still has value and can offer his own talents and virtues to stand out among the rest.
This may be a book written for kids, but as an adult, I found it hard to put down. While the story could use a final round of editing, overall I found this story to be intriguing and full of adventure. There were likable characters, funny moments and a lot of interesting scenes as Danny traveled to different time periods. I loved the part about Stonehenge the best! I also found the characters that Danny selected for his team to be perfect accompaniments to the story, because each of them brought their own skill set and qualities to the story that made a good team. The authors described these characters well, and I appreciated how the characters had their own personalities to make it easy to tell them apart. My favorite character was the penguin named Pen! It took some getting used to that there was a talking penguin in the story, but it did make the story more interesting!
The thing I liked most of all about this story was Danny’s unwavering bravery. Sure, he’s a 10-year-old kid, but he is very brave to face the many opponents he encounters as he works on gathering the keys he needs for his larger mission. There are moments where Danny is frightened and feels fear over the enemies he must face, but he does not allow his fear to get in the way. He doesn’t let it overpower him. He chooses to be brave, and that’s a quality I really liked about this character.
Another thing I liked about this story was how the authors created the concept of time travel to make it work in the story. Danny asks Sir K how time travel is accomplished with the ship, the Exploricus, but Sir K is unable to explain it to him, only saying that it has something to do with math. This makes sense, since mathematics is literally a universal language and plays a major role in many concepts of astronomy. Time travel stories are always fun to read and it was exciting to imagine the ship traveling through time portals. I liked how easily it was achieved on the ship, with Danny operating some kind of lever to specify where, in time, they wanted to go.
Also, robots in this story? Yes! Of course! What would a science fiction story be without robots? I loved how there were good and bad robots in the story. As a kid, I was fascinated by robots, and reading about the robot community on a planet was a fun escape back to my childhood fascination.
There are also some universal pieces of wisdom to be gleaned from this story, which are important life lessons young readers may want to take heed of. For example, how Sir K explains to the character Liang: “On the surface, we may look different, but we are more the same than different.” He goes on to say, “We all come from the same fabric of the universe, and the people of Earth all have common origins.” (Page 182) That is just one example of the nuggets of wisdom readers will find in this story, and if there is anything that a young reader will take from the reading of this book, it would be a good idea to remember the above quote.
“Chase Across Time” is a good introduction to a world of time travel and futuristic societies. I also liked the drawings that accompanied the story. I enjoyed reading this story. I am interested in what adventure and excitement the next book will bring and I hope young readers will have a greater appreciation for astronomy, robotics, time travel and space exploration as they read this book.