Pub. Date: 5th January 2012 (UK) 17th January 2012 (US)
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (UK) St. Martin’s Griffin (US)
Pages: 432 (UK) 352 (US)
Series: Tempest (#1)
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Science fiction
Tempest isn’t a book I’d have willingly bought. I probably wouldn’t have even looked at it since I think the cover gives off a paranormal vibe, so I was surprised when I realised that Tempest was actually a science fiction novel. A young adult The Time Traveler’s Wife (one of my favourite books), if you will.
It is the year 2009 and nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a time traveller with a twist. He can travel back in time, but only a few years at the most, and he doesn’t have to worry about disrupting the present because nothing changes when he jumps. Jackson is content with his newly acquired supernatural abilities until two strangers – Enemies of Time – fatally shoot Holly, his girlfriend. Jackson panics and accidentally time travels back to 2007. He attempts to jump back again to 2009 to save Holly, but he finds that he’s completely stuck, with the two strangers still after him.
Tempest is an extremely well-constructed novel. I appreciated that Julie Cross clearly thought a lot about how time travelling would be possible in her story. It is not the case that Jackson is a time traveller “just because, you know, it’s a fantasy story”. Tempest incorporates detailed and believable explanations about the “science” of time travelling, interwoven with the plot. I also enjoyed the amount of character development in the story. Each character has distinct personality and background. I could see that 2007 Holly and 2009 Holly were the same person, but that she had changed in certain ways over the two years.
I also grew to love Jackson. He’s not a “boy next door”, he makes mistakes and he can hurtful, but he knows that and genuinely feels guilty and attempts to rectify his mistakes. I really enjoyed the slow pace of this book, in particular when Jackson tries to get to know more about his future-girlfriend Holly in 2007. The relationship between Jackson and his sister Courtney is also extremely touching and an important part of the story.
If I had to describe Tempest in one word? Fun. It’s a cinematic story, filled with action, mystery (What is Jackson’s father not telling him? Why can’t he get back to 2009?) and romance. Because the pace of the book is quite slow, I did think that the ending was rushed and didn’t really work for me. However, it is an unexpected ending and it will leave you wishing that the sequel was out already.
You can read a free prequel story, Tomorrow is Today, on the publisher’s website here or if you’re in the US, it can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon.
Thank you Macmillan Children’s Books for providing this book for review!