Tempest by Julie Cross: Book Review

TEMPEST by Julie Cross
Series: Tempest, #1
Publication Date: January 17th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: |

Summary: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Book Review Overview:

  • The chemistry between Jackson and Holly was lacking
  • Overall, it was too convoluted. Time travel beyond logic.
  • I started out really liking the book but grew to like it less and less as it progressed.

Talk about book hype. TEMPEST was already stirring up a lot of buzz way back in September 2011 when I first heard about this book. The film rights had been sold to Summit Entertainment a long time ago. It seems like the publisher is pushing this book quite hard, so when I was given the chance to review it through NetGalley, I jumped at the chance. After all, I do love time travel.

I honestly would have loved to see TEMPEST revolving more around the family dynamics rather than revolving around Holly. I loved Jackson as a protagonist, but to be honest, I just found his chemistry with Holly really lacking. We do see the evolution of their relationship but I just didn’t feel the spark between them. On the other hand, the moment that Jackson mentioned that he had a twin sister, I felt the love between the two siblings immediately. I think a novel revolving around Jackson and Courtney would have been more effective because of the stronger ties between them. Holly, I was not a fan of, but I liked Courtney immensely.

Backtracking, I do like Jackson as a protagonist. There is a need for more male protagonists in the genre (and in my TBR pile…) so reading from a male perspective was refreshing. I like the fact that Jackson was 19 and in college. The majority of the novel does take place 2 years in the past so really the college scenes are minimal.

I started out enjoying TEMPEST immensely. I am a big fan of time travel and I get excited whenever I hear about a new time travel book in YA. I was hooked into the novel straight from the beginning. At first, it was fun trying to figure out what was going on. After Holly is fatally shot, Jackson finds himself traveling back in time to 2007 instead of sticking around to find out what happens to Holly. 2007 is two years in the past and Holly and Jackson have not yet met. Jackson tries to adapt to his life back in 2007 and tries to figure out how to get back to the future. It was nearing towards the end of Jackson’s 2007 experience when everything went downhill for me.

I like logic. One of the cool things about science fiction is that some authors have the ability to come up with such fantastic theories as to how some things such as time travel can work. I think that for a science fiction novel to truly work, it has to have some scientific accuracy or even realism. The theories have to make at least a little sense in the reader’s mind.

I think some time travel stories can just skirt around explanations without having to dive through complex physics. And it can still work. (I’m thinking Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series here.) But if you’re going to attempt to nitpick at the science behind time travel, you have to have a concrete theory. You can’t just spew mumbo jumbo that contradicts itself a million times. One of my biggest problems with TEMPEST was that the theories behind time travel were just everywhere. I know that Jackson himself tells Holly (and I guess the readers) to abandon everything that you know about time travel. Easier said than done.

Cross mixes in parallel universes on top of time travel and it just creates a huge mess. There is no linear timeline of events. There are so many parallel stories that by the end of the book, the first half of the novel essentially did not exist. It didn’t happen. At one point, I literally just stopped trying to make sense of the mess because it was just impossible. If I were to use TEMPEST as a textbook for time travel, I’d end up more confused than I was if I hadn’t tried to learn the theory.

Bottom line, I did not love this book though I wish I had. The novel just became too convoluted to make sense logically. For me, it was over-hyped and just did not live up to my expectations.

Why I’m Biased: I had very high expectations for this book and it just didn’t live up to it. I guess I also put certain expectations toward time travel novels.

Other Reviews:
Nice Girls Read Books
Poetry to Prose

About the Author

Julie lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children where she works as a YMCA Gymnastics Program Director. She never considered writing professionally until May of 2009. Since then, she hasn’t gone a day without writing.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads


  1. Courtney was probably my favorite character in Tempest. I enjoyed the book, and am curious to see where Cross goes in the 2nd, but if the theory behind it all gets more complex (if that is possible) I am not sure if I’d be interested to finish the trilogy or see the movie.

  2. I LOVE time travel books and like you said you have to have a theory of why this is possible for it to work. While “The Time Travelers Wife” didn’t really have a reason to WHY the guy could time travel, it still worked out well.

    I’m so looking forward to this title, but I’m a little scared it won’t live up to my expectations either :hmm:

      1. Hmm, I’m really with you on the confusion and not making logical sense. I felt the book jumped around too much and many times I lost the thread. I was stopping, reading back going, wait, hang on, what just happened. Unlike you, I did feel the love grow between Holly and Jackson. It started out, he didn’t care for her quite like he should, but then after she had her life altering event, he realize how important she was to him. As for Courtney, YES! she and Jackson had something VERY special. I certainly could feel the strong bond. I wish they had made the story more about those two. It would have been remarkable!

  3. I’ve heard others mention the same things enough times that I think I’m going to put this on the back burner for now. I think I’ll wait until the second book comes out and see what people say there. Do you think you’ll read the next book?

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