usagi ☆ミ's Reviews > Tempest

Tempest by Julie Cross
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's review
Jul 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, arc-galley, ebook, net-galley, timey-wimey-machine, teenage-shennanigans, reviewed, sexy-tiems
Read from September 28 to December 04, 2011

So, I'm having real mixed feelings about this one, guys. On the one hand, we have a really original look at time-travel (aside from genes, that was first covered with "Ruby Red" earlier this year), but on the other, we have a not-quite-constant male voice for a male character and a kind-of-idiotic name for the Big Bad (seriously, "Enemies of Time"?). Overall, though? "Tempest" is pretty awesome, and deserves a read as one of the better YA sci-fi genre books of the year.

First, let's look at the awesome: gene-splicing is always something that makes me happy, regardless if it's in regular adult or YA. I love playing with the possibilities of how time travel could be relegated to the genetic code, and what happens if we play with those genes. It feels like Cross did some research on the more recent finds in theoretical and quantum physics (Adam's character did a great job of informing the audience of real, even if twisted-for-fiction theories that are currently being investigated by CERN and other science agencies around the world) and really worked well with it in terms of both the plot and characters.

I also loved the idea of "home base" and being able to change it, as well as my personal favorite school of thought within theoretical physics: the "Many Worlds" interpretation (go to Wikipedia for more information). Anyone who can make this work within YA is pretty awesome, and Cross managed to pull this off (and it's hard to do, too). "Many Worlds" really plays in beautifully to Jackson's journey within this book, and works wonderfully with how the arc of Jackson's inner conflict. It's not just about saving Holly, but it becomes about finding out more about himself and his twin sister, as well as fighting with himself about the "Grandfather Paradox" (wiki that one as well, as Cross made A+ use of that here) with the temptation to go back in time to fix things. She used all of these theories correctly, and with well-constructed characters, arcs, and backstories, it made for a very well-rounded, finished-feeling story.

Now for the not-so-awesome: I understand that it can be really hard writing in the voice of a gender that's not your own. The few brave male writers, YA or not, who do it don't always succeed. But rarer do you see a female writer attempting a male YA voice in first person POV for the entire book. Cross got most of this right, I think, but in some parts, failed to keep it completely consistent. Which is understandable, given the circumstances. So while it wasn't so awesome sometimes getting jarred out of Jackson's gendered voice during the narrative, I still tip my hat to Cross for even attempting it. It takes balls, and she obviously has them.

But more annoyingly, I was kind of disappointed by the name she gave to the Big Bad: the Enemies of Time. Really? I know I sound like a snot here, but this was the one non-technical issue I had the biggest problem with in the book. It made it feel a little too childish, and I think that had there been maybe either more thought, more input from others, or another draft, a name change to the Big Bad might have gotten five stars and would have brought the book to a higher level, making the stakes for Jackson, Holly, Dad, and the rest even huger than they are now.

Otherwise? If you like YA that doesn't have a traditional romance to it (and thankfully, while the romance was a big part of the book, it didn't suffocate the audience) and has some well-done fun adventure, I suggest you take a spin with "Tempest" once it hits shelves in January 2012. After all, everyone needs a fun in the little wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff department every once in awhile.

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and

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11/29/2011 page 47
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jean Valjean (OG 2010) This looks gooooooood. =]
Y u no respond to my message? I miss you, girly!

usagi ☆ミ Sorry, I've had a deadline to meet for writing - class starts next Tuesday. @__@ I'll be sending you a longer message later today, promise! <3

Jean Valjean (OG 2010) Brilliant, pretty lady! Hope you're doing well. =]I think you have my number, you should shoot me a text sometime!

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