It’s 2009 and 19 year old college student Jackson can travel back in time. It’s a new skill, one he’s been experimenting on with his good friend, Adam. So far there have been no problems with the time-space continuum, nothing sinister. However when his girlfriend is shot in a struggle with strangers who burst in on them, Jackson accidentally jumps back in his panic. To 2007. Now stuck in the past, Jackson needs to work out what’s going on, why he can jump in time and the truth about his life, all while trying to save his future girlfriend, Holly.
Julie Cross’ YA debut is a highly readable page-turner that kept me guessing. The different times Jackson visited carefully added many clues and questions throughout the novel and I really enjoyed the concept of the book. At times, I found I wondered what was going on and it could get very slightly confusing however I found Cross managed to bring the strings together well by the end and I was definitely sucked into the plot which was filled with action.
Personally, I didn’t like Jackson for a lot of Tempest however. He was a strong character in the sense of having a distinct voice and I think he was a very typical college student, well apart from the travelling through time bit, but I didn’t know if I truly believed he was really in love with Holly throughout the first two thirds of the book.
One moment I really liked that Adam called Jackson out on this at one point in 2007 by saying while he was telling Adam he loved Holly, he hadn’t been shown any actions that truly depicted this. Now, as someone who is trying to write a book themselves, the show-don’t-tell mantra has been drummed into me, and it’s something I’m conscious of in my editing. However, to see this referenced within the differences between Jackson’s own narration of his future and his recollection was really interesting to read. Is it that Jackson is just unable to show his feelings for Holly, which while we as readers are told and given the choice to believe whether they are true, the characters on the outside can only go on his actions.
The final third of the book did change my mind about Jackson a bit, especially the ending which I won’t spoil for any readers but in my opinion showed his character growth from the start.
Outside of the romantic subplot, I really loved the secret parts of the CIA and Jackson’s quest to find out the truth about time-travel and his own history. I loved Jackson’s father and felt he was a very interesting character to read and full of complexities. There is one scene with him where Jackson has an accidental time-jump that remained unanswered but I would assume that why his father behaved as he did is going to explored in the sequels. Cross created brilliant secondary characters with Jackson’s dad and Adam, an extremely intelligent teenager trying to help Jackson get the answers he wants.
Tempest is an enjoyable read, one that definitely sucked me into the series and as I was lucky enough to have a copy of Vortex to read when I finished Tempest, I straight away started to read its sequel. I received a free copy for honest review purposes from Macmillan. Tempest is available to buy now and I will have my review of it’s sequel Tempest on the blog shortly.