3/23/12

Tempest - Julie Cross

I read so many rave reviews of this book and subsequently put it on hold at the library.  When it finally came in, I probably should have returned it after I read the blurb on the inside of the dust jacket.  But instead I read the first few pages of the book, and THEN returned it to the library.

I'll admit that this review is not based on me actually READING the book, since I couldn't get past page three.  But I talked it over with my husband, and he agreed with me (in fact, since he's the sci-fi buff in our household, it is his thoughts that shaped the basis of this review).  Although a writer has unlimited freedom with where to take a story, there are certain constraints that are always followed.  Take, for example, a story about vampires.  Although Stephenie Meyer took considerable literary license with her Twilight Saga, at their core the vampires retained the basic elements that are crucial to any vampire story: they drink blood, they are terrifying (well, Victoria and her crew were anyways) and they don't go out in the daylight.  Of course, Stephenie Meyer's vampires played a little with the essence of a vampire by making the Cullens "vegetarian" and adding the concept of the fact that they sparkle in the sunshine, so they can only go out on cloudy days.  At the heart of the story, vampires are vampires and the core of what makes them who they are doesn't change from story to story.

But this book isn't about vampires, it's about time travel.  And right on the inside of the dust jacket, it says that the main character can travel through time, but there is no time space continuum for him to tamper with.  Now, I realize that there is no SCIENCE of time travel, since it doesn't really exist, but my husband has always talked of Carl Sagan's theories of time travel, and the butterfly effect (chaos theory).  He's a very smart man, my hubby =)  And, even though I'm not a huge sci-fi reader, it just logically makes sense that if you alter something in the past, it must have ramifications in the future.  But as the story started to unfold in the early pages of the novel, the main character and his friend are testing his abilities to time travel and proving that his interactions with people in the past have no effect on the events of the present.  And that, to me, messes with the integrity of what a time travel book should be about.  Just like vampire stories, there should be certain elements to the story that must stay true.  So I gave up on the book.  A mere three pages into the story, which is a record for me.  My apologies to anyone who read and enjoyed this book (and from the GoodReads ratings, it seems that there's quite a few of you), but it just wasn't for me.

4 comments:

  1. Time travel is one of those things that makes my head hurt to think about. (I talked about in a recent review, not promoting just saying).
    It hard to tell what's what and the 'rules' of that world.
    Which is how I view almost anything. Vampire, werewolves, time travel, etc. Like you said at the core somethings can't be ignored, but people can change some rules. (Sparkling vampires, werewolves killing the one that changed them, etc.)

    In time travel, sometimes you change something TO have the future you have, while other times you're future (the original) is unaffected but a new future can be created.
    It's a tricky business of "What does being there do?"
    Think about the entire Back to the Future series. That's all messing with the past to change the future.

    This is on my to read list, I wonder what my opinion will be although my first impression was iffy.

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  2. Thanks for your comment and I look forward to reading your review when you're done! I can't believe that I forgot to toss Back to the Future into my review -- that's the perfect example. In fact (so says my super smart hubby), Carl Sagan's theories of time travel were a major influence in Back to the Future's storyline. When something is changed in the past, the repercussions are felt in the future, and the changed item must be changed back in order to have keep the future consistent (my head is hurting already). Time travel can be hard to comprehend, but when it's done well (i.e. The Time Traveller's Wife, in my opinion) it reads effortlessly and doesn't make the reader's head hurt. Same goes for fantasy in my opinion -- if I can't keep track of characters with names that are 18 consonants long and have the head of a lion, neck of a giraffe, toes of a tree frog, tail of a dragon, etc, etc, then you've lost me as a reader. But that's a WHOLE different can of worms!!!

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    Replies
    1. I had some other examples but I didn't think they were very.. how do I say, well know.
      Honestly, I had no idea what Carl Sagan's theories are, you explaining it really helps. And, see that makes sense to me. Once you start talking about 'original future' (before it was changed, and it still existing), you cross over into parallel worlds which is another ballpark.

      Exactly! You have to be careful what can of worms you open and what rules your world holds them too. You go crazy and you could have a seriously confusing mess on your hands!

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    2. Honestly -- I'M not even sure I understand Carl Sagan. I got the gist of it while hubby was explaining, and then somewhere around flex capacitors my eyes started to glaze over ;) But thanks for the compliment anyways!

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