Tempest (Tempest #1)

By Julie Cross

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Publisher

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.

Goodreads Summary

I knew this was going to be different for me when I picked it if for no other reason than I don’t normally read books written from the POV of male characters. I was really taken with the blurb though (and you know, the cover), loved the concept and even liked the idea that this would be a finite, three book series. I was really disappointed that the only thing that lived up to its promise was the concept – there were problems everywhere else.

College student Jackson is a jumper – purely by accident, he found he could go back a short distance in time for a little while then send himself back into his body in the current timeline as if almost no time had passed. The jumping experiments he’s been running with his best friend Adam draw attention from some ominous-looking men and his girlfriend Holly ends up shot – and Jackson instinctively jumps, ending up in 2007, farther back than he’s ever jumped before.

From there, the story splits in a couple of directions and is one good example of what worked and what failed here. Jackson’s father looms over one half, either one of the good guys or the ultimate evil doer. There’s a nice smart story about the history of the jumpers, the factions and fanatics. Then the story just gets overloaded with junk – people I don’t care about who barely appear, information that serves no purpose, repetitive scenes that don’t forward the plot one inch and a barge full of red herrings.

When Jackson isn’t trying to figure out whether his father is trying to kill him or who the bad jumpers are, he’s trying to get a date with 2007 Holly by working as a janitor at the gym where she teaches. She’s still in high school, by the way. He also tracks down Adam and quickly convinces him that he’s Future Jackson and enlists his help. It’s all very easy, very unbelievable – the story seemed to produce a tiny little deus ex machina every few chapters.

I really hate having this opinion but I’ve sat on it for a day and a half and it’s not going away so I’m just going to toss it out there. Holly is very nice. But infuriatingly, she’s been written as a stereotypical clueless blonde. It doesn’t help that the story is told from Jackson’s POV since I’m pretty sure he’s always seen her as a dim booty call. Even when he has his little emotional epiphany, she’s grateful and weeps – backbone: find it.

Adam fares slightly better but I think it’s only because Jackson doesn’t need anything from him emotionally. He’s still a stereotype – science geek, obsessed with computers, taking notes and keeping journals, knows Latin and is an expert hacker at 17. Of course he has no life so he’s always available for Jackson.

Obviously, the one problem I kept coming back to with the story was that even though Jackson was interesting, I just didn’t like him. There was no depth to his character – it was all about the story and in it, he was a crappy and selfish boyfriend, friend and brother anyway. Being with him was dangerous enough, but other than being the rich friend who could pick up the tab more often, he gave nothing back.

The longer the intrigue behind Jackson’s dad, the Tempest project and the EOT went on, the more confusing it got but I still was interested enough to keep turning the pages to find out who were the bad guys and if karma would bite them in the butt before the book ended. Nearly all of my questions seemed to be answered – some characters that were murky remained that way – and the Tempest project/EOT plot ended on the cliffhanger I expected it to.

My Summary: Writing unfavorable reviews always makes me cranky and this one’s taken me almost five hours of dithering. I think some people might disagree with me about the character issues and just love this for the jumping plot anyway. If Jackson had been a better narrator and Holly and Adam less superficial, I could have overlooked a lot of the other plot issues. Not connecting with any of the characters is just the worst thing when I’m reading and it was compounded by the last few chapters which were ludicrous and the nails in the coffin that ensured I won’t be picking up the rest of the series. And now I’m going to go find a big pile of chocolate to make me feel better about writing this.

My Rating: D+



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