Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Pages: 400 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Read it on my Kindle

Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)
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.

Review:

This review is dedicated to my dear friend Cillian, who read Born at Midnight in exchange for me reading Hourglass. Sorry about that, Cillian. You got the worse end of the deal there.

This book didn't turn out to be a good fit for me, but I do have some praise to give it. Hourglass was very readable and positively flew by. Truly terrible books feel like they go on forever, but the novel's liberal use of small cliffhangers at the end of every chapter made me hardly notice as I blew through the novel. Sure, I was skimming that last section, but it was still quick. While Emerson is... well, I'll get to that in a minute, the writing itself is easy to read, lending a hand to that great pacing. The idea Kaleb's character is a good one, but the execution will be given some attention later too.

Now for what I didn't like. This section is much lengthier.

Angst angst Michael Michael Michael Michael more angst about parents Michael Michael Michael Michael Michael Michael Michael Michael Kaleb Kaleb boys boys boys boys OMG I can't choose between them Michael Michael Michael Michael Michael. Throw another few moments of angst in as needed.

That was the main character Emerson's mind in Hourglass from beginning to end. She spends so much time putting down other girls, including her own best friend ("If [good-looking best friend Lily] didn't have a wicked sense of humor and more loyalty than a Saint Bernard, I would probably hate her on principle alone."), drooling over boys, making sweeping generalizations about teenage girls, and overall being one of those characters you wish would think with their brains and not their sexual organs that I am embarrassed to be a fellow teenage female. She is one of the most unpleasant narrators I've come across in a while.

When I was ten, I was a moron. Why? I shoved a wrench into an electrical socket and got the piss shocked out of me. Multiple times, Emerson mentions the electricity coursing between her and Michael, such literal electricity that it blows light bulbs (and I swear I'm not kidding). It's supposed to be romantic, but all I could think of when she was describing it was my own shock from the electrical socket, which was not fun or orgasm-inducing. Like with all heroines that do the same thing because this is hardly an isolated incident, I wondered what she was thinking. Not good description right there.

In fact, description does not seem to be the book's strong point. With the way he had to arrange his face until he could settle on the right expression, I was under the impression our romantic lead Michael was really Mr. Potato Head. (Come on, you know Mr. Potato Head is sexy.) Emerson had a terrible tendency to overdescribe Michael. It's awesome Emerson wants to do him. Really. Heroines who aren't afraid to think of or have sex safely earn extra points with me. Too bad Emerson lost those extra points and then some by constantly going on about about how hot he is. I can only take so much.

And then when he fogged up a glass with his hands--think about that because something is wrong with that picture--I couldn't resist the joke that he was a hot potato. Yes, I am occasionally punny. It's genetic. Shut up.

This quote pretty much exemplifies my problem with Emerson and Michael as a couple and it can expand to describe my problem with many popular couples in YA now:

""I don't know what any of this means, but I know that when I thought you were gone, I couldn't breathe. It felt like half of me was missing." I kept babbling, my edit button not only broken, but completely obliterated. "I'm seventeen. Who feels like this at seventeen?"" (Hourglass, 90% on my Kindle)
Partway through, Michael tells Emerson about the Novikov Principle, an important element that keeps them from messing up the timeline too badly with their time traveling. Just one problem there. Michael only knows about the Novikov Principle because of Future Emerson, who appeared to him and told him. Future Emerson only knew because Past Emerson knew, who only knew because Michael told her. Where is the starting point of this important piece of information? I have seen many plot holes as a reader, but this is the first one I've ever seen that produces a literal hole if put to a diagram in the mind.

Maybe it would have been easier to get into the "OMG Kaleb likes me and I kind of like him, but I really like Michael, but Michael might not like me back and he might like this other girl and OMG" love triangle drama if I actually liked anyone involved. I hated Emerson, Michael, Kaleb (while the idea behind his character was a good one, the execution of it as that typical flirty friend/third part of love triangle was terrible)--overall, the novel needed stronger characters, especially stronger female characters.

Hourglass tried to up the drama at the end with two mentions of the "powers that be" and no explanation of what/who they are or why they are able to keep people like Emerson from using their powers. I would think that would come up earlier in the novel, but I'm getting off-task. The attempt to make it dramatic and keep readers around for the sequel Timepiece didn't work on a reader as reluctant as I was. If you're looking for a quick read that you don't plan to think much into, just something for your brain to munch on while on a plane or something, this seems like a good choice.

2 stars!


What am I reading next?: Die for Me by Amy Plum

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, someone who also didn't like Hourglass! O_O

    ReplyDelete

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