Wendy Darling's Reviews > Tempest

Tempest by Julie Cross
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Jun 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, sci-fi-or-futuristic, male-pov, read-2011, time-travel, adolescent-wish-fulfillment, pn-teleporters, 2012-publication
Read from October 23 to 31, 2011

I think that a lot of readers are going to enjoy Tempest a lot more than I did, judging by the insane marketing efforts planned for this book and by the early reactions I've seen. And to be fair, this is a very readable novel that kept me turning pages so fast you'd think I was eating potato chips. (view spoiler) Unfortunately, my own overall reading experience was a very frustrating one because the story was so confusing and I never really felt a connection with the primary characters.

Jackson Meyer is a college student in 2009 who has recently discovered he can jump back and forth through time. He's just beginning to test the limit of his abilities with the help of his friend Adam when one day, a bunch of weirdos burst into his dorm room and during the struggle, his girlfriend Holly is killed. Now Jackson, who speaks several languages and is filthy rich (of course), has to figure out if he can go back in time to save her, all the while avoiding the dangerous people who are chasing after him.

This is a pretty cool premise, if borrowing heavily from Dr. Who's time lords + the movie Jumper. The fundamental problem with a conceit like this, however, is that if the rules of your time traveling aren't fairly clear and the switches in timeline fairly easy to follow, it's going to be hard to hang onto your audience. I have a rudimentary understanding of the guidelines Jackson has to follow, but the timeline made very little sense and the plot feels as if it's just a jumbled mess of events strung together. The jumps are also far too frequent and short-lived, which makes for very abrupt shifts in setting and action; I calculated that in 352 pages and 43 chapters, this kid jumps nearly every 8 pages.

If that weren't enough, there are also elements of Alias (including shades of Sydney Bristow's dad) thrown in + a dead sister + a whole lotta romance...which really isn't all that romantic. By the time Jackson discovers that he's been lied to his whole life and the conspiracies pile up higher and higher, it becomes a pretty ridiculous exercise to watch him become a super secret, teenaged, time-traveling CIA agent in just eleven days. All so he can battle the bad guys, who are called EOTs, or...wait for it...Enemies of Time! *dun dun dun*

This book is also extremely romance-centered, and there's a lot of wish-fulfillment going on in Jackson's fixation with Holly, who appears to be a nice but fairly ordinary, unremarkable girl. I just didn't find them very compelling individually or together, and it's not until the end that there's even a hint of anything genuinely emotional developing in their relationship. (I do give him some credit for not taking advantage of the "past" Holly when he so easily could have, however.) The two characters that interested me the most were Jackson's long-dead sister Courtney, whom he sees when he travels back to the past, and another mysterious little red-headed girl who appears intermittently in his travels. I really wish the book had done more with those characters instead of trying to randomly hit on so many other, less interesting things in the name of serving a far-fetched, unconvincing plot. This novel is really like an episode of any number of pseudo sci-fi adventure tv shows that specialize in flashy quick cuts and dramatic music, most of which also play fast and loose with pesky elements such as science and logic and character development.

As I said, I think a lot of readers will probably enjoy this more than I did, however, so I'm going to be sharing my ARC with fellow readers. If you're interested in joining an ARC blog tour for Tempest, sign up here for a chance to participate! (If you don't have a blog, you may also post your review to GoodReads instead.) YA readers will likely be hearing about this trilogy quite a bit in the near future, since this is not only the first book in a planned trilogy, but the movie rights have also been snapped up by Summit Entertainment. It will be interesting to compare notes to see whether the majority of readers will be as wowed by this story as the powers-that-be are predicting that they will be.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
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Reading Progress

10/24/2011 page 76
22.0% "Damn. I left my Kindle in the car and it's way too late/cold to go outside to get it, so I guess it's a sign I should just keep reading this." 2 comments
10/24/2011 page 158
45.0% "Still finding this confusing. *sigh*" 3 comments
10/30/2011 page 195
55.0% "Hah hah hah, I just found out what the (supposed) bad guys are called." 7 comments

Comments (showing 51-100 of 130) (130 new)

message 51: by Brad (new) - added it

Brad Sells I love that cover so much. Hopefully the ARC Blog tour will begin soon so I can read this! I just started a new blog! :-)

Wendy Darling I haven't forgotten you, Brad! I'll include sign up details for the ARC blog tour in my review. :)

message 53: by HD (new) - added it

HD Tolson No stars Wendy??? I need to know your final verdict! Will we once again disagree on bookS?

Wendy Darling You mean my status updates and hints haven't given you a clue, HD? ;) But yes, I'm afraid this is another book where we'll have to agree to disagree. Review soon.

message 55: by HD (new) - added it

HD Tolson Heehee i thought maybe you'd come around! Heehee, and yet again we disagree! YAY for review soon!

Wendy Darling Not this time! One day we'll agree on a book, H.D. One day. :)

Flannery Well put. You already know how I felt about this one. (almost exactly as you did) My GR friend Eric told me that Jumper is actually based on a book and that the book is better than the movie. I wonder how similar this book is to that one?

message 58: by [deleted user] (new)

Have you read Jumper? The movie fairly sucked, but the book is pretty tight, with a protagonist with considered ethical questions about his abilities (though he often makes the wrong/bad choice, which is interesting) and a romantic relationship which occurs between *gasp* reasonable, if not altogether together people.

message 59: by Amelia, the pragmatic idealist (last edited Nov 07, 2011 05:48PM) (new)

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist I always wonder how books like this get published. I mean, it sounds **exactly** like JUMPER (the movie - didn't read the book). And see, I thought lifting story ideas from another source was frowned upon, but what do I know? Apparently book publishers AND movie studios don't mind... :S

message 60: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:41PM) (new)

But not like the book Jumper, in that Davey is an abused and neglected boy whose teleportation is a nice manifestation of his need to run away.

Wendy Darling Flann and Ceridwen, did you two write your posts together? ;) I had no idea that Jumper the book was actually good, I'll have to check it out! What a shame that it was made into such an annoying movie. I'm really curious to have someone (who has read that and this) do a comparison. I'm fairly certain the other book would win in..well, every category, really.

Amelia, I wonder that all the time. You can't copyright an idea, really, so people can really write their own version of whatever they want (and I have no idea how closely this resembles any of the other things I've mentioned). But if we're going to see similar premises, it'd be nice if they were at least executed in an interesting way...

message 62: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh wow, I didn't even see that cross-post, Flann!

Yeah, Jumper is good, imao. I don't know if it's classed as YA or not, but it certainly fills that void of YA with guy protagonists who feel like real guy protagonists.

Wendy Darling Uh-huh. This one feels very much like a guy protagonist as written by a woman. I've never met any man, let alone one who was in college, who spends this much time thinking about his girlfriend. Not just the "oh no, she got killed!" part. But the "how awesome she is" part.

Jumper really does sound very good, I think I'm going to have to find myself a copy. Thanks for the rec, Ceridwen!

message 64: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I hope you like it. There are some baaaad covers out there, which is off putting.

message 65: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana I remember this book being hyped months and months ago on EW. The movie rights were sold even before this book was completed. Needless to say, I was over it at that point. Nice to know it is as bad as I thought it would be.

message 66: by Tatiana (new) - added it

Tatiana Oh, Wendy, if you want more time travel, try Singing the Dogstar Blues.

Wendy Darling Yeah, why is that always a bad sign, Tatiana? I can't think of any trilogy with pre-sold movie rights that ended up being really excellent. At least Divergent was entertaining and didn't give me a headache, though.

I have Dogstar Blues on my TBR list--glad to hear it's worth reading!

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist I definitely agree with you and Tatiana. I'm always suspicious when movie rights go before a book even comes out. A lot of times, it seems that what makes a good movie doesn't always make for a good book.

Crystal Starr Light Oh poo, I have an ARC of this. I was so excited, what with the time hopping and such.

Wendy Darling Agreed, Amelia. Many of the projects where this happens seem to be very lightweight for the book department. They might as well just have the movie and do a movie tie-in book instead of the other way around.

And who knows, Crystal, maybe you'll enjoy it. I didn't absolutely hate it, though I can't say I liked it, either!

message 71: by Donna (new)

Donna You always write the most informative reviews that really get to the heart of what makes a book enjoyable! Its very generous to share your ARC with other reviewers. I think I'll skip this one. I don't have a lot of interest in books about time travel in general and I definitely don't like books that rely on a romance to make up for what it is lacking in plot.

Wendy Darling Thank you, Donna! And, um, I don't blame you for skipping this one. From what I know of your taste, I tend to doubt it's something you'll enjoy. I thought it'd be fun to circulate the ARC in case there are other bloggers who might like it better, though. :)

message 73: by Angela (new)

Angela I wish the title was different, I keep thinking all these reviews are about the Shakespeare play!

Wendy Darling Hah hah, bite your tongue, Angela!

message 75: by Simcsa (new)

Simcsa It sounds horrible.. The kid jumps every 8 pages? It has to be confusing, I can't imagine that.

Wendy Darling It's not literally every 8 pages--sometimes it is a little more. But sometimes it is even less.

~Tina~ Well said!

Jacinda I mention many of the same things in my review! :) I haven't posted in on Goodreads yet.

Wendy Darling Thanks Tina! As you say, it'll probably make a fun movie. Look forward to reading your full review, Jacinda. :)

message 80: by K. (new)

K. Why are all the stupid novels getting all the movie deals? Seriously.

Wendy Darling Beats me. And pre-sold as a package deal, too.

message 82: by Sesana (new)

Sesana I'm always cautious about anything wibbly-wobbly and/or timey-wimey, but the movie rights were sold before the book was even done? I learned my lesson with I am Number Four. Great looking cover, though.

Wendy Darling I meant to mention this in my review, but the cover actually is kind of interesting. Nothing like what is depicted actually physically happens, but the concept echoes that iconic image of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, of course. Jackson extending "the hand of God" is a little far-reaching (and made me snort a little), but the notion of his "giving life" to Holly by trying to go back in time and save her is kind of clever. Though it's more clever than the story, really.

"Wibbly-wobbly" and "timey"wimey" is a great way to describe what goes on in this book, Sesana. I think this could have been a really fun book if it was just thought out a little more, but unfortunately it's kind of all over the place.

message 84: by Sesana (new)

Sesana Argh. Writing about time travel requires a lot of planning, and if you don't put in that work it'll just be a big mess.

Wendy Darling I absolutely agree! Oh, well.

Reading Rhino Press Wow, I know what you mean. I felt the exact sane way about this one and I'm really glad someone agrees with me on my review!

Greta is Erikasbuddy Yawn!! This would not be a good Greta book. I totally was wanting to read it but now... No way Jose! Uggles... First off, I can't stand how smarty pants everyone in YA is now. I mean SNIKEYS! I wish I knew a jillion languages. I have a hard enough time stringing together a sentence in English.

And 2nd... I do not likems de books that are confoosing.

No sir re bobby!

If smart jumper dude hops around every 8 pages then umm... yes no.

And ahh... it's like Alias and Dr. Who and Jumper? Blahs....

So, thanky thanks for reading this! I now know it is not for me :)

Wendy Darling Yeah, I don't think this is a Greta book either. :) Jackson actually isn't that annoying as you're reading him, but the way the book is set up overall is really kind of silly.

Glad someone else agrees with me, Reema!

message 90: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em How is Holly being Jackson's girlfriend wish-fufillment when the author is a woman?

Wendy Darling Holly being Jackson's girlfriend was not at issue. Projecting the fantasy of being the object of a teenage boy's affection/attention to this degree, however, is a pretty clear indicator of wish fulfillment in my view.

message 92: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em Ah, so you think the author's wish-fufillment is being a teenage boy's desire? I guess that makes more sense.

Wendy Darling Ema, are you being sarcastic? I can't tell if you're honestly trying to have a discussion or not, though from the way you wrote both your posts, it doesn't appear that way. Although I hope I'm wrong.

message 94: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em I am not being sarcastic, I promise. I was just confused because I thought by wish-fufillment you meant that somehow the author was trying to live through Jackson, which confused me because the author is female. I thought you meant that Holly was like a "dream girl" and therefore that was wish-fufillment. Now I understand that you meant the author was living through Holly instead. I am sorry if I sounded confrontational.

Wendy Darling Oh, I see! No problem, I understand where the confusion came from in my review. It's also easy to misread tone when we're all dashing our thoughts off online, so my apologies for jumping the gun.

I'm sincerely glad you enjoyed the book. Most of my friends did, too.

message 96: by Katie(babs) (new) - added it

Katie(babs) I DNFed 50 pages in. I couldn't understand what was going on.

Wendy Darling Yeah...you wouldn't really know what's going even if you'd read the whole thing, Katie. I'm not sure anyone does. :D

Most of it, including the teleportation, isn't all that well thought out, IMO.

message 98: by Katie(babs) (new) - added it

Katie(babs) Wendy Darling wrote: "Yeah...you wouldn't really know what's going even if you'd read the whole thing, Katie. I'm not sure anyone does. :D

Most of it, including the teleportation, isn't all that well thought out, IMO."

The whole back and forth from 2009 to 2007 then 2004 and do forth had me dizzy. I was hoping to enjoy it because I don't read many YA's with male protagonists.

Rida (Raindrop Reflections) Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalking wrote: "I HAVE to stop looking at your books. Everytime I do, I find more that I want to read. It's like the Wendy Darling sneak preview bookstore!"

I totally agree. Every Wendy Darling review makes me want to pick up those books just to see it with as much insight as her :)

Wendy Darling Katie(babs) wrote: "Wendy Darling wrote: "I was hoping to enjoy it because I don't read many YA's with male protagonists."

Yes! There was a better way to handle all the jumping. I actually have a male POV shelf, btw, since I'm always looking for more too.

And aw, thanks Rida. But I wouldn't really recommend picking up this one, hah.

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