Review: Destroyer (Rewinder Series Book 2) by Brett Battles

destroyerAbout Destroyer

With the whole of human history altered, Denny Younger may be the last rewinder in existence—and the last person on earth with a chaser unit capable of time travel. While caring for his ailing sister, Denny must discover a way to recharge his device before he’s left with no defense against a past that wants him dead.

Before long, Denny notices a mysterious stranger following him—keeping tabs on Denny, his family, and his friends. Is Denny just paranoid? Or maybe he isn’t alone in this new reality after all…

When his chaser is stolen and his girlfriend is kidnapped, Denny risks everything to get both of them back. Launched into a high-stakes chase that spans continents and millennia, Denny’s responsibility to save our future isn’t over yet. It will take all of his cunning to stop a threat capable of steering the fate of the human race into disaster.


About the Author

Brett Battles is a Barry Award–winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Jonathan Quinn series, the Project Eden series, and the Alexandra Poe series—the latter of which he wrote with Robert Gregory Browne. Battles draws on his extensive world travels to infuse his thrillers and science fiction stories with rare cultural and historical authenticity, bringing people and places to vibrant life. He lives in Los Angeles. You can find him at www.BrettBattles.com.


My Thoughts

First a word of warning! Destroyer is the second book in an on-going series, so tread carefully here. I'm issuing a SPOILER WARNING since I'll talk a bit about what happened previously in order to establish Destroyer and a brief bit of discussion about that ending, which clearly indicates a book three is on the way.

You've been warned!

Destroyer, the latest from author Brett Battles and second in his Rewinder series, picks up on the heels of the previous novel, Rewinder. Now living as a sort of temporal refugee with his time- and reality-displaced sister, Denny Younger once again finds himself in the thick of things as an old foe unleashes a multitude of nightmares across the time stream.

Since changing the shape of the entire world in Rewinder, Denny is no stranger to the perils of time travel. His curiosity is piqued, though, when he begins noticing a strange man showing up in several of the same spots that he frequents. As he begins investigating the man following him, he's loosed upon a much darker secret - just as his chaser (a.k.a his time travel device) is stolen and his girlfriend is kidnapped.

While I sort of enjoyed Rewinder, I had a hard time completely investing myself in the world because of a few too many leaps of faith in Battles's narrative devices. I enjoyed Destroyer much more, since the world Younger now inhabits is necessarily stripped of prior book's drawn out world building and its associated conceits (companions and an imperial caste system to name two). As such, the storytelling feels more focused.

With this being the second book in what is clearly shaping up to be at least a trilogy, we're thrust right into the action, starting with some time traveling shenanigans to rip off a big-time Miami drug dealer. Denny is worried about the potential publicity and the record-keeping aspects of winning the lottery or placing high-earning bets, so he's left to steal from drug lords instead, which also helps soothe his conscious given the wickedness of the drug trade. As it happens, this is also about as simple as his life gets over the course of Destroyer...

The pacing here is downright frenetic as Battles goes into full-tilt thriller mode, with a huge focus on action. This sucker moves along like a bullet train!

Unfortunately, that's also where my biggest gripe comes in. Time travel is merely a device to feed the action, rather than being a focus in its own right. I had a similar complaint with Rewinder. There's some great ideas presented in the complications wrought by interfering with history, some of them downright chilling, but Destroyer never slows down long enough to explore the changed landscape. While alternate timelines are given plenty of lip service, there's no real depth. We only ever get the merest of glimpses before being jumped into a new time and place. Denny's travels ever only feel like a minor historical footnote in the larger narrative, and it's a bit frustrating because I actually do want to pause the story and look around. I want to see how Battles imagines a 1950s New York on police lock-down while World War II still rages on, but sadly, it's barely a blip on his or Denny's radar. This is a chase thriller, first and foremost, and although it succeeds in that regard, it's also it's biggest weakness. There's simply no time for introspection or exploration because everything moves too quickly.

By the time we hit the finale, Battles has stuffed the breadth of history with so many complications that one has to wonder how (and when) Denny can even begin to start setting things right. And that's likely where book 3 will come into play, since we're left on a fairly abrupt cliff-hanger. Given the setting of that finale, though, I'm moderately hopeful we'll finally get a chance to see the nefarious repercussions of all these time jumps in greater detail.

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

darkest timeline

Buy Destroyer (Rewinder Series Book 2) At Amazon

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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