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I've been meaning to read Tempest for a while now so when I saw it on a shelf at my school library I was delighted. Tempest is written from the point of view of Jackson, a 19 year old boy with the ability to travel in time. He discovered this ability a few months ago and has been experimenting with brief forays into the past and his nerdy friend Adam has been helping him compile all his research in an attempt to figure out what the heck is going on. Jackson is pretty happy with his life, he's in college with a beautiful girlfriend, but one day strangers turn up at his dorm room and his girlfriend, Holly, ends up stabbed. As soon as that happens, an uncontrollable sensation takes over Jackson and suddenly he's been transported 2 years into the past. However, this time things are different. This time Jackson is stuck in the past. Trying desperately to get back to the present and figure out who the hell those people were and what they wanted with him, Jackson looks for Adam and Holly in 2007, an Adam and Holly who don't know Jackson yet.
Tempest was a brilliantly original story, one like none other Ive ever read before. Time travel isn't something I've read about a lot but Julie Cross seems to have invented a pretty unique world. Jackson can travel into the past, but only to different timelines (kind of like parallel universes) so nothing that he does in them actually affects the present. At least that's what happens when you make a half jump (all that Jackson is currently capable). When you make a full jump, as Jackson accidentally does when he sees Holly stabbed, things get complicated and actions have bigger consequences. Even though there are lots of jumps to different years meaning that we see the same character at varying ages, it wasn't confusing at all. Everything is clear which is quite a feat now thinking back to what an intricately detailed world Julie Cross created. As the story was completely unique, I never had any idea what was going to happen next. There were quite a few twists and turns along the way, but none of them are too shocking.
Although it's written from the first person perspective of the main character, Jackson, I didn't feel like I had a massive connection to his character. This wasn't really a bad thing because we were given enough insight for us to like and sympathise with him and the plot carried the rest of the book forwards.
I really liked he character of Holly, Jackson's girlfriend. She seems like a girl who knows all about guys and what's pigs they can be so she's quite wary of them and there isn't any sort of insta-love between her and Jackson. The whole story is rooted in Jackson trying to save Holly from getting hurt, but it wasn't sappy and love wasn't the main theme of the book, it was so much more than that. I hate young adult books in which wonderful new worlds are created but never fully explored because a teenage romance becomes the focal point of the novel and thankfully that wasn't the case with Tempest.
Although a great book, I felt it was rather long and that perhaps the same story could've been told in a few less pages. It's not that I have an aversion to reading long books, in fact, this book isn't that long, I just felt that the story was dragged out a bit. Nevertheless, this was an excellent story and I can't wait to read the next book. The ending isn't what I expected it would be at all and I'm really curious to see what happens next!
Tempest is the debut YA novel from Julie Cross and the first book in a trilogy. It is published by Macmillan Children's Books on 5th January 2012 and the book is 432 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC for review.
Jackson Meyer is hiding a secret. He can time-travel. But he doesn't know how he does it, how to control it or what it means. When Jackson, and his girlfriend Holly, find themselves in fatal danger, Jackson panics and catapults himself two years into his past, further than he's ever managed before, and this time he can't find a way back to the future. All the rules of time-travel he's experienced so far have been broken and Jackson has no choice but to pretend to be his younger self whilst he figures out a solution. Jackson is tearing himself apart with guilt and frustration, wondering if Holly survived. he's also become the target of a enemy force he cannot even begin to comprehend and it seems even his dad is lying to him. Jackson is racing against time to save the girl he loves, discover the truth about his family and, most importantly, understand why he can time travel and who wants him dead.
What I thought
I was so excited by this book from the moment it arrived. It sounded quite like the film 'Jumper' but with time instead of just space and with a lot more romance. However, when I started reading, I found it quite slow to get in to and I just wasn't feeling it. After putting it down for a couple of days, I picked it back up and I am so thankful that I did.
The beginning of Tempest is all about explaining how main character Jackson (loved his name by the way) can time travel. A lot of information is given in the first couple of chapters and for me, it was quite overwhelming. I understand completely that it was needed in order to set the scene of the story but the beginning was just a little too much to take in one go. Once all of that was over though and the story really got going, I was addicted!! I actually nearly missed my bus stop on the way to work because I was so engrossed in what was happening.
The YA genre is dominated by female narrators so I loved the fact that Tempest was told from a male's perspective. Jackson is 19, in love and a time traveller. His narration is fresh and upbeat and it really made a nice change. As he has no real idea about how hi ability really works, along with friend Adam, he is just trying to figure things out as he goes along. Jackson is far from perfect and he isn't afraid to admit that which is something I really liked about him. He also doesn't bitch and whine when things don't go his way but instead, he actually tries to do something about the situation.
Jackson's relationship with Holly was another aspect of Tempest that I loved. Their relationship is quite complicated and continues to get even more so as the story goes on but I really liked this. Their relationship also felt extremely real and that as due to their dialogue and a couple of scenes in particular. They do things that normal, everyday couples do and it was great that Cross let them swear and have an intimate relationship. There isn't too much of either aspect though so it isn't a book completely aimed at the older end of the YA spectrum.
Tempest had a hell of a lot more action than I was expecting. This is a great way to aim the book at boys just as much as girls though and because of the added male narrator, I think this would be a great book for boys. I'm not always the biggest fan of the kinds of action scenes that this book has but I couldn't help but like these. Everything about this book is exciting (even the slow start). The pace is fast and intense but also has enough places where you can catch your breath. The plot has so many twists and turns that made me not know if I was coming or going (much like Jackson) but I didn't care. I was dying to know what would happen next.
Even though I didn't really like this book to begin with, I soon ended up loving it. Tempest is exciting, thrilling and passionate and I can't wait for the other two books in the trilogy.