Book Review: Tempest

Tempest by Julie Cross

In 2009, nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is in college with a girlfriend named Holly. But only he and his best friend Adam knows Jackson’s secret: that he can travel through time. In all of his jumps back in time, nothing ever gets changed, and he feels a pull back to his original time so no problems have ever come up. Then, one day strange men arrive at Holly’s apartment, and during the struggle, Holly is shot. And Jackson is thrown back in time to 2007, before he knew Holly. Now Jackson has the time to save Holly and figure out who the men were and what they wanted. But Jackson isn’t the only time traveler. And he is far from safe in 2007.

Jackson is a seemingly average young man with an incredible ability, one that he doesn’t even fully understand yet. He loves Holly, so his first thought is to integrate himself into her life early and get to know her and win her over all over again. While there are bits of romance in this young adult novel, the relationship seems to take a back burner to the time travel and espionage aspect. Many marketing blurbs and reviews have compared this novel to Hunger Games, but there is next to nothing that resembles the dystopian trilogy. Instead of Hunger Games, I’d say this is more Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Jumper.

First in a new trilogy, Tempest is a bit bewildering with the amount of characters and time jumping involved. Without delving into too many spoilers, Jackson’s father has many secrets and it’s unclear if his side is good. Their opposing force is the EOT (Enemies of Time), who are even more cryptic and never fully explain their actions or motivations. Though, emotions seem to be a deterrent, which may explain their flat character development for now. Cross does have a creative take on time travel, with partial jumps that don’t change the timeline as opposed to full jumps that create alternate realities. Obviously, the science fiction themes are heavy, which I enjoyed. Alternating between suspenseful time jumps, dramatic storylines with Holly, and bizarre intrigue with Jackson’s father and colleagues, Tempest is something different, with plenty of mystery that kept me reading.

Tempest releases from St. Martin’s Griffin on January 3, 2012.

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