Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Book Addict Reviews: Tempest by Julie Cross


Genre:  Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Time Travel
Order Online: Amazon.com  
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 2 stars   
Received this audiobook from my book blogging buddy, Jen Ryland from YA Romantics.  

In A Nutshell:  
Jackson Meyer has all the appearance of a "normal" guy.  He goes to school.  He has a girlfriend.  He is unsure how to handle his father.  He misses his sister desperately.  But he has recently learned that he has the ability to time travel.  However, time travel for Jackson is not like what you see in the movies.  His trips do not change the past--the people he meets do not even remember talking to him.  He cannot travel to the future.  But something has changed for Jackson--his normal life has been threatened by people he has never met...

Review:  
I was a little hesitant to jump into a time travel book after reading The Time Traveler's Wife.  Consequently this book sat on my shelf for a long time, but as part of my pledge to get the books I have at home read I decided to give it a try.  I am glad that I did.

In some ways, the characters seem a little stereotypical.  Jackson is the perfect rich kid who is also brilliant.  Holly is the perfect contrast as the good girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is beautiful enough and smart enough to attract Jackson.  Adam is the smart to the point of nerdy side-kick--he does not attract the girl but he is always there to save the day.  Initially, I was not impressed.  But as the story unfolded the characters gained depth that made them more interesting and took them away from these stereotypes.

Julie Cross' approach to time travel helped to draw out some of the complexities of these characters.  Jackson's time travel adventures only affect him--the people he interacts with and the changes he makes to events are only remembered by him.  But we can still learn a lot about him from the choices he makes even when he knows that it is fruitless.  We can also learn a lot about Holly and Adam from the interactions he has with them at different points in time.

Uncovering the complexities helped me to relate more to the characters--but I still felt the characters were a little too good to be true.  Adam seems to always have the answers and the skills needed in every situation.  Holly seems to have every attribute that Jackson wants and needs.  Jackson seems to be able to charm himself into or out of every situation.  Sometimes it feels a little too easy.

But I do not mean to give the impression that I thought Tempest was all bad.  Despite some of concerns about the characters, the story drew me in.  Jackson is a good narrator.  He has wit and a good eye for details.  His charm and charisma work as well on the reader as they do on the other characters.

The approach to time travel is unique.  Jackson's time travel adventures only affect him.  He is the only one that remembers the interactions he has with people during his time jumps.  The people he meets and talks to do not remember the encounter when he returns to the present.  The actions he takes do not change the results of the events in the present time.  But this approach also leaves me with my big question that I hope will be answered as the series continues: if time travel does not typically affect the present--what is the point? 

Recommendations:
I happened to pick this one up just before the release of the next book in the series--after the last couple of chapters I could not wait to read the next book to see where the story went from there:

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