Friday, November 11, 2011

Tempest by Julie Cross (REVIEW)

Fans of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE and JAMES BOND (weird combination, I know) might find a lot to love about this action-packed book - if they can get past some shoddy characterization and slow spots.

TEMPEST by Julie Cross
January 17, 2012 by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin
352 Pages
ARC Received via LibraryThing
Preorder via Amazon

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

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When I first heard about TEMPEST and the hype surrounded it, I was conflicted. On one hand, I do love a good male POV drama. On the other, I hate hype. I will admit it, I’m such a pessimist that I don’t know what to do with myself. Thanks to LibraryThing I won a copy of TEMPEST and eventually got around to reading it.

I’m still conflicted. Part of me thought that it was awesome and action packed and original, and then the other part of me thinks it wasn’t worth any of the hype surrounding it. The story follows Jackson Meyer, a 19 year old with the power to time travel (a very different sort of time travel than you might expect), as he is forced two years back in time after witnessing the death of his girlfriend, Holly. Jackson is honestly not a character I really liked. I mean, he was a stereotypical teenager guided by his manhood instead of his head, but I never got the impression that he really loved the girl the cover promised us he loved until he just suddenly declared his love. Their relationship seemed much more casual than anything, giving me pause in wondering why he was going through all the hoops to save her. I had a hard time connecting with him and his motivation, or getting past the fact I thought he came off as a huge jerk VERY early in the novel.

So the characterization in the novel is rather flat otherwise. The plausibility factor is also rather low. For example, Jackson’s friend Adam has way too many connections and his knowledge level in stuff like hacking and DNA labs and mathematics is way too high for me to believe him for an instant. Why am I giving this book four stars? What this novel had going for it was action, intrigue, and a science fiction element that made me want to know more. It was very reminiscent of THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE in a sense, and since I love that book so much, I couldn’t help but enjoy TEMPEST’s take on the situation. Cross’s take is definitely different, and for that she definitely gets some kudos.

There were a few points in the book where I got somewhat bored, parts that were reiterations or needless aspects that could have easily been cut, but the book definitely did not suffer from a lack of excitement. From gunfights to time traveling to mystery elements, there is little to keep you bored for long. But action packed stuff only makes up a little of the characterization problems that keep this book from getting what it could have gotten. I wanted more, so the hype for me once again fell sadly flat. I’ll still check out book 2!

VERDICT: With characterization issues that plague the story and a lack of plausibility at times, TEMPEST has a strong redeeming aspect – great action and a strong mythos – but is not fully redeemed. More of a 3.5/5 than anything.

♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS

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