Book Review: Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time

  • Title: Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time
  • Author: PJ Davis
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Would I recommend: Yes. Entertaining for middle-grade to middle-aged!


Thirteen-year-old Max is a daydreamer. It gets him into trouble at school, but his restless curiosity really turns problematic when he runs into a mysterious professor at his uncle’s bookstore. The old man informs Max that time is being sucked out of the planet by invisible bandits, stolen from unsuspecting people one breath and one sneeze at a time, and is being stored in a central vault. Once full, the vault will fuel a hungry horde of invaders looking to cross into earth, and cross out all its people. What’s more, the professor claims he knew Max’s missing scientist father. With the help of his best friends, Derek and Samantha, Max must harness his compulsive curiosity and find passage to this place called Nemesis to stop the sticky-fingered time thieves and halt their planned invasion. But when the professor goes missing and the clock starts ticking, Max discovers far more than he imagined. Just how much Max is willing to sacrifice hinges on the realization of just who or what he is beyond the bounds of time.

Max Kellerman seems like a pretty typical 13-year-old boy – two best friends, a mom, a dad who’s gone missing. (Wait, what?) His inquisitive mind tends to go off wandering during school, and that gets him into trouble. But he has no idea how far his curiosity is about to take him when he meets someone at his uncle’s bookstore who tells him a pretty crazy story about a vault full of time that’s being stolen, with a passel of creatures intent on destroying the world as Max knows it just as soon as they’ve stolen enough time. But what really grabs Max’s attention is the mention of his father. You know, the one missing and presumed dead? According to this professor, Max’s dad is alive and imprisoned in this alternate dimension. Max agrees to break into the other world, Nemesis, where this vault of missing time is and try to get it back. But his real motivation for going is to find out if his father is still alive.

PJ Davis gives us a rollicking good adventure! I love the mechanism he created for the otherworldly bad guys to steal time from humans. Let’s just say Max’s tendency to sneeze in bright sunlight comes in handy.

Derek and Samantha (Sam) are wonderful as Max’s best friends and companions in adventure. They ring true to the middle-grade kids I know – the boys sometimes rush into situations where common sense might tell them otherwise, and the girl has a little more maturity and ability to stop and think. Sam’s logical reasoning gets the trio out of a jam, or keeps them out of one, more than once.

There are allies in unexpected places, tight spots that you aren’t sure how our heroes will get past, and plenty of action to engage even the most reluctant reader. My younger son in particular would have loved this book a few years ago! (His tastes have changed and he’s more into manga now. Five years ago, he would have been all about this.)

And does Max find his father? Do the kids save the day and the world? I’m not telling. Grab a copy of the book and find out! Highly recommended for middle grades and up (and advanced upper elementary readers would probably be fine, too).

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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