Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Tempest

Today I'm reviewing Tempest by Julie Cross, which happens to be my first read for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren. (Please check out her site for more information about the challenge and for a complete list of the books involved.)

The Book...

(Tempest #1)

"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.
" (via Goodreads)

My Thoughts...

I liked Tempest and enjoyed reading it, but I can't say I loved it (though I really wanted to). I thought it was a good story, good writing, interesting concept, and likeable characters. But I had a few issues with the pacing, story "hints" and "questions", and the overall feeling I was left with after reading it. The last fourth of the book went by so fast and everything came together at once, it felt like I was being overloaded with the information (much like the main character). I had to re-read several pages (multiple times in the last several chapters) to make sure I understood everything. And while many of the story "questions" were answered, those "answers" often only created more questions. But this is the first in a series, so I know many of these questions were necessary to set up the next book. I am looking forward to reading its sequel (coming out in 2013) and hoping that it will resolve some of my unresolved feelings towards this book.

1) Characters: I really liked the characters in the story, even the ones the reader isn't supposed to "like". They felt realistic despite the fantastical storyline. At the start of the story, the main character Jackson is a nice guy, but he's carefree, careless, and impulsive. His girlfriend Holly (who is adorable) and his science-expert buddy Adam (my personal favorite character) ground him. But as Jackson rushes to solve all the problems, he grows much more aware, responsible, and mature. He still makes mistakes and can act impulsively, but his reasons have changed. And I enjoyed seeing this change in his character. Another character I want to mention is Jackson's deceased twin sister Courtney, who appears frequently in the story since time traveling is involved. I'm sure she plays an even bigger role in the following two books. And the "Enemies of Time" (or EOTs as they're refer to in the book) are freaky!

2) Plot: Jackson's traumatic "jump" after witnessing Holly's shooting sets him off on the mystery of his abilities, his family, and the people after him. While his main goals are to save Holly and return to his "correct" time period, Jackson begins to unravel questions about his life and aspects about himself. With every step or "jump," he encounters more questions and problems. There are a lot of twists, turns, "hints" and revelations weaved throughout the story. I thought the build in suspense was nicely done (despite the rushed information-revelations near the end). I also enjoyed the internal journey Jackson went through in the story as realizes how important Holly, Adam, and Courtney are to him. The storyline was a nice mixture of sci-fi adventure, mystery thriller, and a dash of romance.

3) Setting: The setting was contemporary New York/New Jersey areas, mostly between the years of 2007-2009. While the setting wasn't crucial to the storyline per-say, it played an important role identifying the years Jackson "jumped" between. Certain places were involved in key scenes and memories for the characters, and these places created clues for the reader to follow.

4) Time Travel: The "timey-wimey" aspects of this book were interesting and I like how majority of the time traveling stuck to modern times. In some ways that made it harder on Jackson since he was so close to his "correct" time period. But towards the end of the book, things started to become more confusing as Jackson (and the reader) discover how his time traveling works. It mostly had to do with the explanations of the logistics of his abilities though. The "jumps" themselves were easily identifiable as to where and when Jackson ended up.

Definitely recommend this book if you enjoy contemporary science-fictionesque stories or edgy mystery adventures with a side of first-love romance.

Meet the Author...

"Julie lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children. She never considered writing professionally until May of 2009. Since then, she hasn’t gone a day without writing." (via Goodreads)

The following two books in the Tempest trilogy have expected publishing dates of 2013 and 2014 respectively. Tomorrow is Today is a short story prequel to the events in Tempest. 

Find Julie On:

(Elvish Farewell)

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