Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Julie Cross 
Series: Tempest, #1
Release Date: January 17th, 2012 
Publisher: St Martin's Griffith 
Number of Pages: 334
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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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.
When I first saw a copy of Tempest at the library, I spent a few minutes contemplating whether or not I should pick it up. While time travel novels and movies have always interested me and I always had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'd enjoy Tempest after reading its synopsis, the negative reviews it received from trusted friends of mine discouraged me. However, I decided to take a chance and pick up the last copy of Tempest left and see for myself if I'd fall into the category of people who liked it, or the category of people who didn't, all while keeping my expectations relatively low. Now, after reading Tempest, I am glad to say that I definitely fall into the category of those who like it.

The warped concept of time travel in Tempest is incredibly interesting and original, but also, at the same time, pretty confusing. The benefits of creating your own concept of time travel is, of course, that there are no prior limitations to what you can do. At the same time, however, I also think that may have been a minor downfall in Tempest. A benefit to using time travel as most people know it (the butterfly effect, etc) is that most things are already established by prior knowledge. There's no need to add page after page of scientific reasonings behind time travel and the limitations of time travel, because most people already know the basics. But with the new spin on time travel in Tempest, everything is completely different from the time travel we already know of. And while I did find Cross' concept of time travel much more interesting than the basic 'you time travel, you change stuff, you leave' concept, there were many times where the explanations for the time travel in Tempest (how it works and how it came to be) became convoluted and confusing.

That's not to say that I found the use of time travel in Tempest to be unenjoyable, though. While it did take me quite a bit to get a full grasp on how the time travel works and why some things happened, I enjoyed it nonetheless and there was never a moment when reading Tempest that I was bored or tempted to skim. When Tempest didn't have a sweet and well-paced romance to occupy the reader with, it had a thoroughly interesting plot and well-written fight scenes to hold the reader's attention.

The characters and relationships in Tempest are, by the end, likable and well-developed. At first, it took me a bit to warm up to Jackson, but soon everything I originally thought about him had changed and I found myself caring for him and everything he went through, and I was soon captivated by the romance between him and Holly. However, while I did enjoy her and Jackson's romance, I found Holly to be pretty bland throughout most of the novel.

After all this praise, you'd think that Tempest would at least be receiving four stars from me, but the most I can give it is 3.5 stars. While I did find Tempest to be a fast-paced, emotional, and fascinating debut, it lacked something that I can't quite put my finger on, and because of that, I can't bring myself to give it any more than 3.5 stars. However, despite that, I'd recommend Tempest to anyone looking for a good read concerning time travel. Sure, it has its fair share of problems, but gosh darn dang it I had fun it with it!


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