Tempest by Julie Cross is poised to set the Young Adult world on fire. To date, this debut has already sold rights in several countries, had the film rights bought by Summit Entertainment, and has a giant first print run announced. Macmillan is clearly considering this to be their lead YA title for the next season.
I enjoyed the book, but there is a caveat I must attach before this review goes any further – time travel books and I do not get along. No matter what I have tried, no matter how many I read, there is always a disconnect that I cannot get over; an inability to believe the material presented before me, and a general confusion that clouds my brain during the read. A friend of mine has a similar thing that happens to him with the Transformers movies. His disconnect is this – giant robots can not be physically supported by the mechanics that run their systems. Their servos aren’t good enough, or something to that effect. Short story is his brain turns off taking one seriously, unless they use one word to explain the giant robots ability to move – magic. If it’s “magic” that makes the robots move, he’s on board. Same thing here, different set of scientific circumstances. My brain has a hard time wrapping itself around the logistics behind such a concept, especially if it is over-explained or, in tandem, under-clarified. However, if it’s “magic” doing the deed, I can wash the entire concept. Because this is a possibility that my brain can readily accept, at least in books.
So, all that predication and we come to the core of this review – what did I think of this book? Well, Julie Cross certainly earns points for creativity in constructing her narrative, which is basically a multi-dimensional time travel romance where Jackson Meyer, our intrepid hero, must woo his girlfriend (who he left dying in the first time period) over several new sets of time. Sounds good right? It is, at least that part of it is. But, once again, my brain disconnected and I felt so bogged down with the idea of multi-dimensional travel that I just slogged through a lot of this.
I did connect in the in-between bits, the sweet and tender moments between Jackson and Holly. I loved that Cross sets up a believable, realistic romance between these two. Holly and Jackson are strong characters – they laugh, they fight, they love, they have sex…in short, they do everything that normal people do (that is missing from a lot of YA novels these days). The fact that they have this relationship pre-established and then Jackson has to rout his way through this again (and again) with Holly, make her love him, get over any guilt he has about being with one vs the other, etc etc…well, it just makes for a damned interesting story that really tugs at the old human condition heart-strings.
But, once again, I disconnected, because ultimately I do not follow time travel books well at all. That said, I loved this idea, and Cross’s telling of this idea. The execution is solid for fans who do like time travel. But, for me, I was confused, and wanted to not be. And this altered much of my reading of this particular book.
4 out of 5 stars. I can’t grade down just because of a disconnect within me. Cross’s writing is compelling. She is going to garner a huge fan base with this book. However, I don’t fee l that it, or its sequels, are for me.
* Tempest will be released January 17, 2012.
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