Angela's Reviews > Hourglass

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
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May 27, 11

bookshelves: arc, science-fiction, young-adult, vine, read-in-2011, pn-romance
Read from May 22 to 25, 2011

Limited character development & stereotypical romance disappoint

In Myra McEntire's debut novel, Hourglass, seventeen-year-old Emerson has been haunted with apparitions of people from the past since right before her parents' deaths. When her well-meaning older brother brings in yet another "expert," Emerson expects another failed attempt to help her. Instead, she gets Michael, a gorgeous young man who believes her and thinks the visions are real. When Michael proposes that Emerson can harness her powers - and their electric connection - to change the past, she must decide how much to risk in order to save a life that should never have been lost.

While HOURGLASS had the opportunity to shine due to its time-travel aspect, it fell short for me due to its limited character development, stereotypical romance, and incomplete world building. The writing, while adequate, faltered sometimes due to unrealistic dialogue and the use of some silly metaphors. Constant physical descriptions of the characters, such as Emerson's short height or Michael's pouty lips, stood in for character development. Despite being told repeatedly that Emerson is tough, she spent most of the novel swooning over Michael's beauty instead of being strong or making her own decisions. Michael may appeal to many readers due to his brooding and handsome nature, but his character developed little beyond his physical beauty and his condescending and controlling reactions to Emerson. Outside of their physical attraction and an "electricity" between them, the romance between Emerson and Michael was also never explained. As expected, a love triangle was introduced, though it was never fully explored, which was a relief. Talents or abilities of other characters, like best friend Lily, were also left unexplained and unexplored.

Plot-wise, the time-travel facet could have added a lot to the book but the time-travel process came across as too easily accomplished. Emerson accepted the risks involved without any real doubts or fears to save someone she didn't know; likewise, the utter willingness of other people to believe the time-travel explanation was unbelievable. Even though the villains and twists at the end were a surprise, their appearance and motivations didn't draw me into the story because I knew they were merely set-ups to drive the sequels.

On the positive side, I know there are many people who will enjoy this book for the brooding love interest, the time-slip aspect, and the relatively clean language and sexuality (just a few curse words, kissing, and some innuendo). Emerson was sometimes very likable and sympathetic as a character, and family played a big role in Emerson's problems and how she worked through them. In the coming books, I hope McEntire develops her characters, the romance, and the time-travel mechanics further to create a more compelling story.

Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.
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Reading Progress

05/23/2011 page 60
15.0% "Arrggh. Staring from page 19, I feel like the author took a page from the S. Meyer playbook about describing the love interest as broad-shouldered and pouty-lipped. I haven't seen any character development beyond him being beautiful at this point. Double argggh." 2 comments
05/24/2011 page 231
58.0% ""Michael looked as nervous as a deer caught in the headlights of a semitruck hauling hazardous waste." Hmm, I don't think the deer knows said truck has hazardous waste and that it won't make any difference when it's smooshed by the truck alone."
05/24/2011 page 250
63.0% ""I took a long shower before pulling on underwear and one of Thomas's old soft-as-silk undershirts." Quiz time: who is Thomas in relation to the MC, Emerson, who is speaking?"

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Tabitha Olson Uh-oh, I *just* picked this up today... We'll see if I have the same reaction you did. :)


Angela Ignore, I repeat, ignore my review and whiny commentary on it until after you have read it for yourself. I hope you have a much better experience with it than I did.


Tabitha Olson LOL!! I only skimmed your review. I'll come back again after I've finished the book. :)


Angela Yes, but even skimming the review gives away my main concerns with it. I can't wait to read your reaction to the romance, though, as I think we'll be along similar lines.


Tabitha Olson Yeah, we usually are. :) Other things vary, but the romance aspect usually remains consistent with us.


Angela That's so true that we usually agree about the romances, even when we disagree about other parts. I was reassured of that based on our similar reactions to the relationship in BLOOD MAGIC. Read on, sister, and report back! :)

(P.S. Will respond to your message re: BLOOD MAGIC probably t'row!)


Tabitha Olson Well...in this case, we agree completely. I so wanted to like this book, but I just kept having too many problems with it.

I'm writing up my review now, so it should be up soon. You won't find any surprises, though. :)


Angela Woo! We agree again. :) Not that I should delight in our agreement because it's about a negative thing, but it's always nice to have a friend in the same corner. I'm getting reamed with negative votes on Amazon for my review of this, so it's nice to know that someone else shares my view, even if it's not a popular one.

I look forward to reading your review and comparing our thoughts! :)


Caitlin I couldn't even finish the book. I'm so tired of the YA romance crap now-a-days. Didn't even bother to expand on reasoning in my review. Sigh. Anyways great review. :)


message 10: by Angela (last edited Jun 19, 2011 05:20PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angela @Caitlin: Thanks for the compliment re: my review! Too bad this book wasn't a better reading experience for either of us.


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