Thursday, August 04, 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

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.


Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

Thanks for the review! This one is coming up in my stacks...looking forward to seeing if I agree with you or have a different reaction.

Tabitha said...

I do hope you'll share if you have a different reaction. I like to know if I've missed something! :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I kind of forgot about this book. I'm okay with love triangles, but the love at first sight thing doesn't really work for me either. Not love. Like at first sight is fine.

Tabitha said...

I agree. I think 'like at first sight' is realistic. But love? Doesn't work for me.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

This one's on my daughter's list to read. I'll pass this review along to her. And I've been dying to read it simply because of the beautiful color. Shallow, I know, I can't help it.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Very thorough review! I appreciate seeing a different take on it than I've seen elsewhere before I pick it up.

Heroines that are too wrapped up in the male lead to solve their own problems are frustrating, but at the same time, it happens in real life. Love, or even lust, can trump survival. Not sure if it was done realistically in this book or not, but I'm excited to find out.

And love at first sight? Swoon. Yeah, I'm one of THOSE girls. Fate stories get to me in a good way.

Thanks for the review!

Tabitha said...

Inluvwithwords - I've been known to pick up books based on the cover, too, even though I often know better. :) Oh well!

Katrina - I hope you enjoy the book!! Especially since love at first sight is your thing. :) It's definitely that way with the whole love triangle, so this might be your kind of book. :)

Krispy said...

Won this one from you and will be getting to it soon. I had higher expectations for it, but it's good to know what areas didn't work for you so I'm prepared going in. Thanks for the book AND the review! :)

Lena Coakley said...

Thanks for the review and I'm sorry to hear it was a bit disappointing in places. This one is on my list and I will probably still read it. (Like inluv, I'm really drawn to the cover--I think it might be my favorite cover of the season.)