Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Tempest (Tempest, #1)Tempest by Julie Cross
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Sigh. Once again, I regret having to rate a book. I was actually NOT going to rate it, but what's the point of that? If I'm going to be an honest reviewer, I have to say what I think.

One Star.

I almost wish I could cry. I was SO excited to start this book, as you can see from my update comments posted below. It bugged me at first how similar the cover is to the Hush, Hush series (I remember the first time I saw the book and thought it had the wrong title...bizarre). For the first 200 pages, I had no idea what the title had to do with the book. Not that that's a big deal; some books have titles that make no sense at all, but whatever.

So, the book. Where to begin? I love Sci-fi. Like LOVE Sci-fi. See, I'm 'old school' like that, not SyFy as the channel has changed it. I love exploring other worlds, investigating the supernatural, and testing my ability to pretend to understand the scientific mumbo-jumbo littered throughout the genre. The thing about Sci-fi is it has to be believable. The science has to make logical sense. The premise/plot has to seem plausible. The characters have to be enjoyable (I would've said likeable but some of my favorites have been characters I love to hate).

Unfortunately, TEMPEST falls flat on all accounts. Plus, it completely lacks originality.

The main 4 characters are Jackson (the MC), Holly (the MC's girlfriend), Adam (the MC's smartypants sidekick), and Dad (the MC's 'dad'). Jackson, at first, is a completely selfish jerk who treats his friends poorly and his girlfriend like dirt. We do see some growth in his character as he struggles to figure out how to return to his original timeline AND save Holly. Quite often, his 19/20-year-old character seemed really immature, and other times he sounded more like a 20-something-year-old playboy. Maybe his lack of morals at first explain his behavior and his player attitude, but I found it detrimental to my ability to like him as a character. Holly seemed like three different girls to me. There is the original 009 version (blah, she seemed like the type of girl that would stay in an abusive relationship and cover it up with makeup), the younger 007 version (a little more wild and believable), and the second 009 version (who accepts everything and becomes a wannabe-CIA chick). Adam is there just to fit the pieces of the puzzle together when Jackson isn't smart enough on his own (even though he has photographic and audiographic memory). And then there's the Dad...the most unbelievable CIA agent ever written. Oh wait. No, those would be his co-workers and boss.

~smacks head~ The freaking CIA! If you are going to write about CIA agents, please try to make them seem realistic and not like they fell out of Men-In-Black or some kiddie-Disney show. I get that the CIA guys are tough and wear suits and there isn't much way around that...but honestly, there has to be a better way to create a CIA character than big-tough-dumb-guy-in-suit-with-gun-who-is-after-me-for-no-apparent-reason.

Okay, enough about the characters. Let's look at plot. I was promised "...excitement, romance, and intrigue." I was told to expect "a maze of ingenious twists and turns...[taking] me on a magic carpet ride that will have [me] flipping pages to the end." Yeah, I flipped pages, constantly, but only to see how much longer until the end. It's bad when you've barely made it halfway through a book and you can't wait for it to be over. There was no suspense, no twists or turns I didn't see coming pages away. Jackson is trying to learn more about his time-jumping abilities and in the process learns he's a government experiment whose existence alters the future of the world and his biggest concern is how to save his girlfriend who he actually cares about but treats like dirt. The whole idea of time-jumping as it's portrayed in this story makes little to no sense at all. Different timelines existing in a parallel universe but his 'home-base' is the timeline that's real...says who? And how does he know he's on the real timeline? After the jump he made from the past on a different timeline to the past of his real timeline, several of the characters said things or did things that they wouldn't have known to say or do (nor could they accept) on the original timeline, yet they do anyway. I seriously thought he'd jumped to what he thought was his original timeline but was really another parallel. I somewhat expected him to be lost in the timeline continuum of parallel universes always struggling to find his way home but never quite getting there. Wait. Wasn't that a show on in the late '80s early '90s? Quantum Leap. Loved that show. {tangent} Anyway, the science in this book just isn't well done. It leaves too many questions and answers questions with vague explanations.

And then there's the writing style. I just didn't enjoy it at all. The MC is supposed to be a dude, but he sounds less dude-like and more chick-trying-to-be-a-dude. I mean, I guess I'm not the best judge of what or how dudes think (seeing as how I'm a girl), but I've read other books written by women from a guy's perspective and they seemed so much more realistic than this one did. And the language. My goodness. I understand some characters use foul language and that is just part of who they are, but this felt like it was put in just for the 'oh-my' factor. Same with the sex stuff. Totally unnecessary.

Well, that's enough for me. Suffice it to say, if there is a sequel, I won't be reading it, and I probably won't be watching the movie version of this until it's on instant-download from Netflix.

Oh, here are my status update comments. I don't normally include them on my reviews (and I normally don't write such long reviews either), but I thought it would show that I really grew to dislike the book and didn't go into it looking to hate it.

07/28 page 2 1.0%
"Just started. Nice to have a story with a dude for the main character again. Love my strong, female protags, but it's always nice for a change."

07/30 page 53 16.0%
"So, I'm not loving this as much as I thought I would. The dude is too much like a chick. The plot very GROUNDHOUG DAY meets JUMPER meets CLOCKSTOPPERS or any other sci-fi time travel story. I don't like how things just happen for the sake of happening. And I'm not crazy about the language or the sex. Unnecessary and doesn't add to the character's development at all."

08/03 page 219 66.0%
"Still not loving it, but too far in to quit. Hoping the next 100 pages goes faster. I'm ready to move on to something else."

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Audiobook Review: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth (Leviathan #2)Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Behemoth was an excellent read (listen) and a fabulous installment in the Leviathan series. One thing is for sure, Scott Westerfeld knows how to write action-packed scenes.

Behemoth continues the story of Alek and Deryn (aka "Mr. Sharp"), introducing new allies and beasties who help overcome the obstacles the two face in their attempts to play their parts in the Great War. I love how everything that happens seems plausible and (somewhat) inevitable for the characters. I really enjoy the mix of fact and fiction in this incredible historical steampunk story.

I really like sci-fi and action stories, but I LOVE when a story has a hint of romance in it. And Deryn's growing affection for Alek (and his complete oblivion to it) really fits the bill for me. Deryn's feelings for Alek and her desire to follow orders often don't mesh so well, and it's really interesting watching her decide how to balance the two. I adored the moment they were alone in the hotel room and Alek confided his last secret to Deryn. And I have to say, the scene after the battle had me grinning. ;D When you read the story, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I'm so excited to see what happens in the next book, Goliath, and super glad I already have it loaded on my iPod!

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