Thursday, February 10, 2022

Review: Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart
Ballantine Books
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Hardcover. 336 pages.

About Paradox Hotel:

"January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder. 

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past. 

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls. 

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see. 

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims. 

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders. 

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once. 

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own. 

At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face-to-face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart."

Paradox Hotel is an inventive and engrossing story about what happens when time travel becomes the norm... and what happens when time travel is about to be privatized and there are many excessively wealthy bidders ready to take it over–oh yeah, and the timestream itself is starting to throw some wrenches into reality. This wasn't the story that I expected it to be, but it ended up being something incredibly compelling and thought-provoking all the same.

The Paradox is a hotel where the wealthy can come and time travel to any of their desired time periods, from Triassic period to the agoras and gladiatorial games of Ancient Greece and Rome to the Renaissance and so any other time period that suits your taste. The story follows January Cole, head of security at the hotel, as she handles her job while also being "Unstuck," meaning she's spent too much time around time travel and now finds herself slipping back and forth between reality, the past, and the future, which makes for a somewhat unreliable narrator at times, to put it mildly. To make things worse, things in the timestream are getting a bit whacky, and then a murder and a blizzard roll in that prompts the hotel to go on lockdown.

If it sounds like there's a lot going on in this book, that's because there is! It took me a little while to really get into things and follow along with who was who and what exactly all the main issues were, but once I did I found myself really gripped by the entire premise of what was happening. It's clear that Hart put a lot of time and thought into creating this time travel concept and all of the components that go into it, so I really appreciated seeing all of that come to life. I will admit that there were still moments throughout where things felt a little overly complex and I had a little difficulty following along, but outside of those moments it was mostly a thrilling ride to follow. 

January Cole is a motivated, career-focused person who also grows more and more unreliable as the story goes on as her being Unstuck gets worse. She fits the mold well of a character who doesn't really enjoy listening to those who tell her to take a break or stop doing, and quite honestly she doesn't care to listen to anyone. She's not much of a people person, which I found rather entertaining, and a bit surprised sometimes by what she says to people, but she's great at her job and is taking this new privatization effort very seriously. She has a lot on her plate with that as well her personal issues and new issues that begin taking the hotel, and I appreciated how well Hart captured her spinning emotions and gradual fraying composure as things continue to get more and more chaotic. 

My only really disappointment or complaint with Paradox Hotel is that there wasn't really any actual time travel in the story (outside of January's Unstuck slips). I get that this book wasn't really about the time travel itself, but rather about the hotel and the issues with the timestream and general concept of time travel and its effects, but at the same time it felt like a bit of a bummer to have such a cool premise and not see any more fleshed out examples of what exactly goes on. We hear about some of the process of the hotel time travel, but I would have loved a bit more detail to better understand everything. 

Overall, I've given Paradox Hotel 3.5 stars. I really loved this concept and I think a lot of other people will, also. If you are looking for a time travel novel, this isn't necessarily it, but I'd still encourage you to check it out because it has a ton of great concepts to explore, and the timestream elements provide some really fascinating time travel-related ideas to consider. 

*I received a copy of Paradox Hotel courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |


  1. I love time travel in books, so it's a bit of a bummer that this element isn't really fleshed out in the story. But, this does sound like a really unique story!

  2. Oh I can't wait to read this. I think I would have liked a few time travel forays too (I always like to see in books like this WHERE (or when ha ha) they decide to go to) but the hotel issues sound fascinating too!