Half the time, I love time travel stories; half the time I hate them.* Going back into the past or forward into the future can be very revealing. You can learn more about a character's motives and personality. We certainly learned a lot about Tina's loyalty and Sinclair's persistence with Betsy in Undead and Unfinished. When MaryJanice Davidson first wrote Undead and Unwed, she probably didn't think nine books later she would write a time travel story to explain more about Sinclair and Tina. I wonder if nine books ago, Davidson knew where the Book of the Dead had come from or if time travel inspired her. The glimpse into the future was very intriguing. One thousand years is a long time and clearly a lot can happen. I wonder if Davidson is planning on more time travel. I know that Book 10, Undead and Underminded is related to Betsy and Laura's time travelling escapade, but will there be more messing about the time line?
Here's where I'm a little more sketchy when it comes to time traveling in Undead and Unfinished. It wasn't consistent. This may get vaguely spoilery, so be warned... Betsy and Laura go to several different times periods in which they are directly affecting Betsy's timeline (and Laura's indirectly, as she is Betsy's sister). In three of these ventures into the past, Betsy needed to be there. If she wasn't, things wouldn't have worked out the way they were supposed to, she was there, because she was always there; it was predetermined. In one instance, however, Betsy goes back to a time when she merely regrets her actions. She stops herself from doing something bad, which is great, but has surprising consequences when she returns to the present. Her return home is part, "Thank goodness we can tell you the truth: we met you in the past." and "How did that happen?/This is different." I don't mind that Betsy changed her past in itself, what I'm not a hundred percent happy with is that there was one trip different from the others. I suppose that when she went into the future, it confirmed that events were not fixed and things could be changed... but I don't know. I was happy with the result to the story, at least.
The end of the book, the epilogue, is really what made the story for me. I really enjoyed the entire novel, but those last pages, bam! So good. Very unexpected. I don't think I can wait very long before I read Book 10.
Hate: Due to time travel, the last season of Fringe is not remembered by any of the characters. So frustrating.
Love: The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, time travel used as a social commentary in the class system of Wells's era.