By: Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal/Sci-Fi
Source: ARC from NetGalley and Macmillan
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.
Time travel stories are always a little iffy for me. Sometimes they work incredibly well (like The Time Traveler’s Wife), and sometimes they’re just too confusing and give me a headache (can’t think of an example right now but you know what I mean! :P). Tempest falls somewhere in-between for me, but overall I did enjoyed the story.
We learn about the rules of Jackson’s ability to time travel right at the beginning, which sets up the story nicely. But as things progress Jackson slowly begins to realize that he doesn’t even begin to understand everything that’s going on and things are way bigger than he ever imagined.
This is kind of where things got out of hand for me. I felt like the plot just had too many different elements and everything was unnecessarily complicated and a little bit unbelievable (yes, even for a science fiction story). I didn’t fully buy into the CIA/Enemies of Time subplot, and I wish that there had been a bigger focus on the simpler aspects of the story instead of trying to introduce so many things at once. The time travel aspect itself can be confusing if you start to think about it too much, but as long as you just go with it then it’s easy enough to understand.
I did really love Jackson’s visits with his sister, they were some of my favorite scenes in the novel, and I would have liked to see more of that developed. It was also really fun watching Jackson interact with the past versions of his friends, especially Adam (yay for science geeks!). Having a male protagonist is always a refreshing change in YA and I enjoyed seeing things through his point of view. And THANK YOU Jackson, for refusing to go back to high school! I’ve always thought it was so ridiculous that so many supernatural immortal characters would actually spend their time in high school (Really?? Really?), and I might have cheered a little bit when college-age Jackson put his foot down (although I don’t understand why his dad was so accommodating; MY parents definitely wouldn’t have been). All that said, I never really connected with Jackson very well, and I also didn’t feel much for Holly. I think this may be because she is shot so quickly at the beginning of the novel that I didn’t really have a chance to get to know her, so I just didn’t care that much.
The climax of the novel is action-packed and high-stakes, and leaves the reader with a slightly bittersweet feeling and a desire for more. Holly’s writing is incredibly visual and cinematic, and the whole thing kind of feels like a action movie, which made the book fun to read even with my lack of connection to the characters. I also definitely still have some questions about the logistics of the time traveling, but I’m hoping the second book might answer them.
Overall, although it didn't wow me, Tempest is an engrossing and entertaining story, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.