Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Tempest by Julie Cross

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312568894
ISBN-13: 978-0312568894
Series: Tempest #1
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: I'm so in love with this cover. I love that the two model's are reaching for each other like they are being whirled into space with the dark, stormy background. It sets up the mood perfectly and I realize now that it is depicting part a scene of the book rather effortlessly.
First Sentence: Okay, so it's true.

Mini-Review: Tempest is a solid story that lives up to it's promising premise but does have a few little stumbles along the way.

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.

Described as The Time Traveler's Wife meets The Born Identity, Tempest promises a fast paced plot, incredible characters and something unforgettable. In some ways it delivers and in other areas it falls just a little short. Built around a solid voice, it has an innovative time travel system and plenty of who-dun-it action. Tempest does stumble sometimes since the writing is hard to follow and bits tended to drag.

I'm always looking for novels written in the male perspective. So I was really excited to hear about Tempest when I found out it was told in Jackson's perspective. I thought his voice sounded natural and he had an interesting point of view. In the beginning, I found myself less than excited to know him as he seemed like a jerk. But as the novel wore on, I did enjoy that he started to change. His growth was without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the novel. While the fact that he was rich could have made everything too easy for Jackson, he never made anything easy for himself which made up for his ultra-wealth.

The large cast of secondary characters worked for the most part and I found myself really liking a lot of them. The ghost of Jackson's twin sister Courtney added depth to his character, the strained relationship with his father definitely added the action, Holly was good motivation and Adam was a great sidekick. I liked that I felt the depth of Jackson's and Holly's relationship early on and as Jackson explored his feelings for her, the relationship became even more alive. It's easy to see why these characters liked each other and helped me to stay engaged and believe in their relationship. I did tend to get confused with so many other characters in the CIA and EOT divisions, sometimes to the point where I'd just shrug my shoulders and keep reading, hoping a name would straighten itself out. It was good to have that many characters in some ways because it did keep me guessing but I felt I lost a little bit of the effect since I couldn't keep them all straight.

Time travel is a tricky beast to make work. There are so many questions and never enough answers. The author did a great job giving us a plausible time traveling system. I'm sure there were kinks I didn't understand but I got the mechanics of it and those worked so I was happy. I'm alright with not knowing the "why"s or "how"s as long as the character doesn't know these things either. I also really enjoyed that Jackson had to pick up clues in many different time periods. The jumps that weren't used for plot building were used to flesh out Jackson's character.

A plot involving many excursions everywhere is bound to be a fascinating one and adding in the CIA was sort of the cherry on top. While most things went smoothly, I did find that the pacing was off in some parts of the book. I also felt like sometimes Jackson would connect things and I'd wonder how he was able to with the pieces provided. This might have been two different mindsets at work but I wish everything was a little clearer. I'm still not sure I understand exactly what happened in the big fight scene at the end.

I also had a small problem with the ending. I don't want to reveal too much, and this is purely my opinion, but I felt like Jackson's last decision went completely against all the things he learned in the past. Again, as far as that goes, it's merely that I wasn't crazy about the direction the story took but that's what happened and I can respect it. It's not going to keep me from reading the next book in the series and I feel like with more practice under her belt, the author is really going to be able to make something special.

While Tempest didn't blow my mind like I was hoping it would, it was a solid story and lived up to it's promising premise. Jackson's voice and growth were the best parts of this book and I have no doubt that the author will improve with the next novel (as that is what writing does, it gets better with every book). It might not have been everything I was hoping it would be but it was definitely enough to tempt me into entering Jackson's head again for book 2.


Favorite Lines:
Only in New York City could someone materialize out of thin air and get no more than the usual angry driver reactions.
--Pg. 39 of an ARC of "Tempest" by Julie Cross
...this is the most freaked out I had ever been in my entire life. And I still had a lightbulb to change--another scary thought.
--Pg. 79 of an ARC of "Tempest" by Julie Cross
Looking back on it now, I could have stretched that moment out for weeks and been completely content. Maybe even months. Nothing went exactly right. And yet it was perfect.
--Pg. 166 of an ARC of "Tempest" by Julie Cross
Okay, my dad was officially much cooler than I'd ever imagined. Even if he was a big fat liar.
--Pg. 207 of of an ARC of "Tempest" by Julie Cross

Here's a sample of the Tempest audiobook:


  1. Thanks for the review Amber! I've been reading some mixed comments lately for Tempest but I'm still excited to read the novel! I can feel overwhelmed as well when there are too many characters to keep track of, so hopefully that doesn't give me too much trouble...

  2. I pre-ordered this one so I'm super excited to read it when it comes. I hope I enjoy since I've heard mixed things but you did so thats a good sign. Thanks for the review Amber and hopefully since I watch Doctor Who the time traveling rules won't be too confusing for me :)

    1. I watched the first episode of Doctor Who but haven't had a chance to go back to it. I really need to!

  3. I agree with you, there were several elements of the story that I really enjoyed but it didn't blow me away. I thought some of the time travel was confusing and I hated the way that this one ended. I'm hoping that the second book will clear up some of the issues I had with the first book.

    Thanks for the great review.

  4. My favorite thing about this book, besides the time travel, was how well developed Jackson was. He was your normal teenage guy in college but at the same time so very smart when it came to using common sense. The fact that him and Adam were trying to figure out the time travel was so cool and they were always prepared. Even though Jackson didn't fully understand everything, he made sure he had what he needed. Old money, old license, passport, you name it. Jackson has to be one of the most put together characters I have read and it was refreshing. Not only him, but Adam was amazing with his mad scientist thinking. Even Courtney was cool when it came to time travel. All the characters took everything in and accepted it. Tempest was amazing and I can't wait til book two comes out. This was such a great way to start a trilogy.


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