Jennifer Ellision's Reviews > The Ocean and the Hourglass

The Ocean and the Hourglass by Dan  O'Brien
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Feb 22, 12

bookshelves: copy-from-author, read-in-2012, reviewed, fantasy, young-adult
Read from January 24 to February 20, 2012

Posted to Almost Grown-up:

I had an incorrect impression of Nicholas in the beginning of The Ocean and the Hourglass. His character read to me, for some reason, like a middle school student, so I was surprised to find that he was in high school. He has a mother that he doesn’t stand up against. He’s frequently bullied by other students who make fun for him for being a “baby” and finds solace in a comic book series about a hero called the Mariner. And one day, Nicholas finds himself transported to the world in which the Mariner reigned and told that he is the Prodigy. He must save this strange world.

Unfortunately, the age confusion was hardly the only issue I found with this novel.

Let’s start with one smaller issue. Going back to Nicholas’s mother, the way that Nicholas saw her was unreal. To me, she read as someone who was just short of abusive, but Nicholas describes her multiple times as loving him the best way she knew how, which was a maddening statement from a would-be hero.

Larger issues were what ruined my reading of this book. The pacing was off– a character who is important enough to change the course of Nicholas’s future is around for a virtual blink of an eye. Several themes are delivered in a very heavy-handed fashion. Points of view were introduced that were unnecessary to the story. And though it was written in 3rd person, it was very odd to see Nicholas continually referred to as “the youth.” The characters never came alive for me.

While it’s clear that O’Brien has an excellent vocabulary, the prose was just too much. It didn’t sound like someone from our world and our time was the main character. Adverbs abounded and some word choices seemed so odd that it was like there has been a “right-click thesaurus” moment.

Overall rating: 1/5. It’s never fun to write a review like this, but there was little for me to enjoy about The Ocean and the Hourglass. It was very nearly a DNF (Did Not Finish) book.
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