Word Spelunking

Tempest - Julie Cross Read the complete and original review at Word SpelunkingI was drawn to Tempest by its exciting and intriguing synopsis and Julie Cross does offer an exciting and intriguing story. However, I didn’t find myself loving this book as a whole, as much as I had hoped I would. MY BRIEF SUMMARYNineteen year old Jackson seems to have it all-money, looks, friends, a great girl, and even the ability to time travel. Because nothing changes in the present, in 2009, when Jackson jumps, he can have fun with his ability and not worry about the consequences. But then the unthinkable happens. Two strange men who seem to know about his abilities show up and Holly, his girlfriend, is shot. During the struggle Jackson accidentally jumps and ends up back in 2007 and can’t jump back. Stuck, Jackson must stay in 2007 and learn about his abilities while getting to know a then 17 year old Holly. Jackson soon learns just where is abilities come from and who had all the answers all along. STORYTempest is certainly as suspenseful and as original as the synopsis makes it seem. I was really impressed by Julie Cross’ intricate and complex plot. Cross offers readers a thrilling story, likable characters, and a compelling romance.The sci-fi/paranormal time travel aspects of this book are creative and unique. Cross has definitely taken the idea of time travel and added her own twists and ideas to create something that is distinct and new. I did like that an explanation for Jackson’s time traveling ability is given and readers are not left to simply accept the fact that he can do what he can do, simply because he can do it.However, I do think that idea behind Jackson’s abilities can get slightly overwhelming and confusing. I often found myself confused while reading simply because there is so much going on in this book and things aren’t always properly explained or touched upon. Because Jackson jumps back and forth between time, there are quite a few dates and timelines that readers must keep straight and I wasn’t always able to, which kind of distracted me and pulled me out of the story.The pacing is a bit unbalanced. Some parts of the book are fast paced and exciting, while other parts drag. There are several scenes toward the end that actually feel like an ending and I thought were the actual ending, but then something else would happen or some new revelation would be thrown at me and the story would continue. I think this was meant to make the book unpredictable and more thrilling, but it just made it feel like the ending was dragged out. The rest of the book is suspenseful enough that these semi-endings weren’t needed. And there were several scenes, chapters, and revelations that could have been condensed and remained efficient.But as a whole, I did enjoy Jackson’s story and journey. Cross does do a great job of setting up suspenseful mysteries surrounding Jackson’s abilities, his father, and his enemies, and then revealing the clues and answers to those mysteries at the perfect time. And there are definitely a few mysteries and questions left unanswered that have left me intrigued enough to want to read the next book in the series. CHARACTERSDespite any issues I may have had with the story itself, I did really like the characters in Tempest.I liked that this book was told from Jackson’s point of view and I felt like I really got to know him as a character. Jackson is definitely a sympathetic character that readers will feel invested in. He’s perfectly flawed and equally lovable and frustrating.Holly, Jackson’s girlfriend, is such an interesting character because we get to see two different versions of her- a mature 19 year old and a less serious, more open 17 year old. To really be invested in this story, readers need to believe that Holly is worth all the pain and trouble Jackson goes through to save her, and she totally is.Adam makes for a fun, adorkable character for readers and a believable and needed BFF for Jackson. Jackson’s father is one of those characters that I never expected to like as much as I did and I found myself really invested in his story as well.The one character that really stood out to me is Courtney, Jackson’s twin sister. Courtney actually died in 2005, but we get to know her through Jackson’s time jumps. The relationship between Jackson and Courtney is incredibly touching and powerful. There are several scenes between them that brought me to tears and moved me. I also really liked the mysteries and questions surrounding Courtney’s character that Cross alludes to and I hope we get to see more of her in future books.The Enemies of Time make for intriguing bad guys and I look forward to learning more about them. ROMANCEThe relationship between Jackson and Holly is such an integral part of this book and it definitely does not disappoint. Again, I found it captivating to get to see Jackson and Holly’s relationship in 2009 and their relationship in 2007, when originally Holly and Jackson don’t even meet until 2009.Cross does a lovely and wonderful job of actually showing this romance and love unfold naturally and realistically; we actually get to see them fall in love. There’s no insta-love here! This is a romance that will move you, break you, and leave you thoughtful.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Julie Cross’ characters and creative plot are engaging and captivating, but even they can’t distract from the book’s pacing issues and tendency to be overwhelming. But, overall, I really liked Tempest and will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

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