For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
I was stoked when I got this book. It sounded fantastic, with so many possibilities for plot twists and edge-of-your-seat conflict. It started out interesting, and I liked learning about Emerson, her strange abilities, and how they affect her. She’s got a good family, a great sister in law and her brother’s heart is in the right place. And the cover? Stunning. I was all set to love this book.
Once Michael was introduced, though, things started going a little strange and their ‘connection’ smacks a bit too much of love at first sight, which is not my cup of tea. Plus, the sister in law seems to be trying her hardest to set the two up even though it’s against her husband’s wishes. I didn’t quite get that one. I also didn’t understand why Michael kept saying that they couldn’t be together because it’s too dangerous, and yet there’s another couple in the story with their exact situation and they managed it just fine. Seemed like a contrived way to keep them apart.
I really did not like the love triangle thing. It was yet more love-at-first-sight (which, of course, isn’t love), and the two guys are supposed to be friends. I didn’t understand that at all. The guys have been friends for so long, and they seem too close for one to be so heartless to the other. Seemed like a contrived way to create tension.
As the story progressed, I had more and more issues with Emerson. She was initially drawn as a strong heroine, but she ends up focusing all her thoughts and energy on Michael—the sun rises and sets with him, and that drives me crazy. I realize some teens think this way, but they’re not being thrust into dangerous situations. Survival would take precedence here, so it bothered me that Emerson spent so much time mooning over Michael and so little time trying to figure out how to gain some semblance of control over her abilities. Or even learning more about what elements create such abilities in people. She did little to no exploration in that regard, which I found both unrealistic and disappointing.
Overall, I was hoping for so much more in the character development, as well as more realistic obstacles that Emerson needed to overcome. Her brother believed the time travel thing too easily, and no one seemed to have any concerns about her traveling through time. The ending also felt like a distinct setup for the sequel rather than tying up the current story, so, for me, it didn’t finish on a good note.
I think I’ll still read the next book, but I do hope the characters have a bit more to them and that the tension is more organic to the story.