The End of Eternity is a story about an organization named Eternity composed of Eternals, individuals who live outside of time, and attempt to fix havoc in mankind's past and future through time traveling. Andrew Harlan is a Technician, the most coveted role in Eternity. It is his responsibility to decide how to make needed changes in the most minimal amount possible. He is never wrong and his status allows him freedom compared to the rest of the Eternity's workforce, who support all aspects of mathematical computation and mechanisms of the organization. During an Observation, Harlan falls in love with a Timer, a individual pulled from a timepoint to work with Eternity for a short period of time, Nöys, and it makes him break rules which he steadfastly upheld. The story goes into the mystery of time and the strange block that does not allow Eternity to explore higher than the 100,000 century, and the pace of the book does not slow.
After reading the first chapter, I wasn't sure what to make of the End of Eternity. Asimov throws you into the terminology and the science headfirst, but he does explain enough to get you by as the story progresses. Every chapter moves the plot along, contemplating the meaning of time and effects of altering history. Although the middle may be slower, the book isn't that long, and everything is in there for a reason.
The ending completely struck me by surprise and I like a book that can do that. Noÿs ended up as integral part of the book and I had been worried about the bare character development surrounding her for most of the novel. I wished there had been more explanation of Eternity, specifically the Allwhen Council, but leaving questions unanswered about the organization parallels with our understanding of time.
Harlan, the main protagonist, wasn't very likeable, but then he was raised around males and in Eternity for most of his life, learning how to interact with people of other times secondhand. I think Asimov chose well in creating a character that was naive, yet intelligent and proud. His whole life was devoted to the rules and procedures of Eternity. It wouldn't be realistic if he was a savvy, charming lead role. He was someone who worked constantly and was used to being alone.
This is the first Asimov book I have read and I really enjoyed it.