Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

26 Jan

Title: Tempest

Author: Julie Cross

Series: Tempest, book 1

Genre: Science Fiction YA, Time Travel

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Published on: January 17, 2012

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Source: ARC from the Publisher

Summary: 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.

So before I even get into my thoughts on TEMPEST, the first book in Julie Cross’ new time-jumping trilogy of the same name, I want to tell you that one of my all-time sob-fest, Amy-is-a-puddle-of-sad, favorite books that will STILL pop into my head randomly is Audrey Niffenegger’s book THE TIME-TRAVELER’S WIFE. It just utterly slayed me. Also, one of my favorite series EVER involves some time-traveling: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. In truth, I had no idea that I had read and loved so many books with time-travel elements until I sat down to read TEMPEST, thought of these books immediately (particularly THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE), and then dove right in and hardly came up for air until I was finished. Because TEMPEST took these time-travel elements and upped the ante with conspiracies, government experiments, danger, sacrifice, and secrecy. Also, basically THE APOCALYPSE. And characters that were fully realized, literal young adults (LOVE THIS) who had strengths and faults. Putting this book down was HARD, guys.

Let’s start with one of my favorite aspects of TEMPEST: Jackson and Holly. *Epic Sigh* Their relationship was young and fresh and fun, but also serious, respectful, and deep. Much like the actual characters themselves, who are on the verge of being REAL ADULTS, their relationship is toeing the line between teenybopper fling and serious adult commitment. I loved it to the ends of the earth. PLUS. THERE’S SEXYTIMES, and they’re perfectly steamy and flirty and real. I was squeeing all over the place with those two! They made me swoon whether they were having sex, innocently kissing, or just lying next to each other, talking and holding hands. I’m so thankful that we aren’t deprived of their interaction because of what happens to 009 Holly in the beginning, because Jackson getting close to 007 Holly was so tentative and sweet and full of all of those AWESOME/NERVE-WRACKING “oh my god, I think I really like you and I think you like me too and I want to simultaneously die from the nerves and SUCK YOUR FACE OFF” feelings. I am giddy with love for them, as individuals AND as a couple. (“009 Holly” and “007 Holly” are the nicknames Jackson gives the two Hollys he meets to keep them straight in his head.)

Jackson in particular was easy to like and root for. He’s got a lot of baggage that doesn’t have anything to do with his time traveling, and I squeezed out some tears for him at various points of this book. They all did involve his younger sister, though, because there’s some very solid brother/sister affection here that melted my heart. (It’s pretty melty anyway, but you get the picture.) But Jackson is smart, funny, and sincere when he wants to be. He’s very much a 19-year-old guy. You know, a nice one. Reading this story from a guy’s point of view–especially Jackson’s–was a nice change, and I’m looking forward to more of it.

The time-travel rules for this book were…not hard to follow, but since I’m no quantum physicist, there were definitely expository elements that I read a few times over just to be clear. Julie Cross goes to good lengths to make things as understandable as possible, and for the most part I was able to keep a grip on the time-travel specifics. There were a couple of times when I teetered really close to MASS CONFUSION, though, as Jackson starts to learn more about his abilities and the role his father and Dr. Melvin and Chief Marshall play in it all. There was one bit that was heavy on–admittedly necessary–explanations of time travel as it exists in this story that was probably just as overwhelming to me as it was to Jackson. Although this is a kid who got a 1970 on his SAT’s (since I’m an old lady and took mine before they added that writing section, I have no idea what the actual equivalent might be, but I’m fairly certain Jackson is smarter than I am), so maybe I was more confused than he was. The bottom line, though, is that I found the time-travel in TEMPEST to be generally well-explained, and thankfully lacking many confusing elements that even my anti-science brain could grasp.

You guys, TEMPEST was a fast-paced, thrilling, clever beginning to a new series that featured some unexpected twists, a WONDERFUL romance, smart characters, and a conclusion that brings more questions than answers, but I am seriously looking forward to reading more about Jackson Meyer and friends. Because some major shizz is coming, and I can’t wait to get into it. The last two or three chapters were a little more confusing than the rest of the book had been, but that could easily be a function of my reading it at 2 am, on the verge of sleep. And that really doesn’t change the fact that I couldn’t stop reading TEMPEST, and am bummed that I have to wait so long for more. THUMBS UP, Julie Cross.


3 Responses to “Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross”

  1. Candice January 26, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I saw this book somewhere… can’t remember. Thought it was another angel book. Thought maybe I’d read it at some point in time. SOOOO glad to see that it isn’t another angel book! This synopsis sounds so thrilling and exciting, and you know I’m a big sucker for sexy times! Also, wanted to point out, I love reading your reviews of books; you seem to know just what to point out about them that makes me way too anxious to read them!

  2. FABR Steph January 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I received Tempest for review but still haven’t gotten to it. Nice detailed review.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  3. April Books&Wine January 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I always feel like an old lady when I hear about the new SAT scoring system too!

    AND OMG THE SEXYTIMES! THEY WERE MY FAVORITE. Plus, the fact that they actually have sex like real almost grown ups. That was awesome.

    AND JACKSON, I loved him and how he was very much a real male, but not cardboard.

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