by Myra McEntire
June 14, 2011
Borrowed from Library
Synopsis (from Publisher): One hour to rewrite the past . . .
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?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
I’m torn over this book. One on hand, the time travel and physics and whole idea of getting glimpses and scenes from the past are all just so cool. It’s a brilliant idea with a ton of potential that should shape up to be a fantastic story. And let's be realistic. That cover is incredibly gorgeous.
But, for me, it didn’t. I liked Emerson (and I loved her brother and sister-in-law) well enough. The solid family structure was really neat especially since both Emerson and her brother are orphans. I liked the implications that families stay families even after tragedy. Which they do! Just that YA tropes don't often acknowledge it.
What completely threw me out of the book was the love story. It was all kinds of depressing for me since I like paranormal! I like love stories! Why didn’t these two mesh in Hourglass? For me, I think it was the combination of the insta-love between Emerson and Michael and the fact that the minute Emerson met Michael, he was all she thought about. When you’re in love, your thoughts naturally stick with the guy or girl, but all the time? To the exclusion of anything else? There was a bit of in canon explanation for this, but it added up to a version of ‘soulmates’ which...no. I want people to love each other because they know and understand each other, because they make each other better, not because some psychic energy says it’s so. It also disappointed me that over and over again, Emerson picked the boy she’d just met over the brother and sister-in-law who’d done everything possible to help her and make her welcome in their family.
To make it all worse, there’s a love triangle that develops as Emerson gets to know the members of the Hourglass organization. It seemed like it was mostly inserted to cause unbelievable tension between Emerson and Michael, and since I empathized with the third party, Kaleb, more than either of the leads...it’s obvious I wasn’t on board even beyond my utter dislike of love triangles.
Beyond this, there were pacing issues with the book that made it clear this was a debut novel. They weren't ones that bothered me so much at the beginning - it just felt like a leisurely development, but the last quarter of the book was absolutely packed with action that could have been spread more evenly - and then possibly allow for a resolution within the book instead of the obvious hook for a sequel.
But the paranormal science and time travel aspects were really cool. Emerson was a likable and intriguing character - until she fell for Michael, and the setting of small town Tennessee was both interesting and obviously well thought out. I might not’ve loved Hourglass, but for sure Myra McEntire’s an author to watch.