Series: Hourglass #1
Published by Egmont on June 14th, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Time Travel, Young Adult
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 also 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've happened?
Hourglass is mostly pitched as YA time travel for fans of Doctor Who. Well. I can’t think of a description that would have me more desperately convinced I need a book in my life, honestly. So I finally got my hands on it and read it, and I did really enjoy it! It didn’t completely blow me away, but it was definitely a fun book and a series I want to continue.
Our main character, Emerson, sees “ghosts” – at least that’s what it seems like at first. Since the death of her parents, she’s been plagued by these visions, which later turn out to be “ripples” – visions from the past. She has a gift of time travel, which brings her in contact with a secretive organization “Hourglass”. Michael Weaver, her consultant and coach as she discovers her abilities, opens her up to this new world and quickly, obviously, becomes a love interest too.
I have to say, I was into that romance. I won’t say it’s one of my top ships of all time, but I definitely felt the chemistry from them. Michael has powers of his own, which draws him to Emerson. And yes, I know, it all sounds TERRIBLY cliché, but the way it’s written really sucked me in. There is this electric connection between them. At least on a physical level, the two are magic together. There’s definite insta-attraction, but it’s not at all instalove, which I find completely believable. They further exploit my feels by making the relationship “forbidden” – because he is hired by her brother to coach her – and that just always seems to work for me. So yeah, I like this romance, and it didn’t become too dominant or overtake the story.
And man, that story. It was a bit slow to start off, I’ll give you that. Michael has so many answers to questions Emerson has and he neglects to just come right out with it – claiming he doesn’t want to overwhelm her, and I guess on the author’s part, she also didn’t want to do an infodump – but as a reader who wants to know the answers, it was rather frustrating. I mean, a slow paced reveal of the world building works better if the characters have to actually go looking for the answers and such. Here it was just a willful avoidance. Still, I was really intrigued by this world.
The time travel aspect was a bit less impressive than I was hoping for. Emerson can travel to the past and Michael can travel to the future, but there are so many rules in place that limit what they can do. On the one hand, I liked how thorough it was. (Their one time travel trip? SO WELL THOUGHT OUT WITH THE PARADOXES.) But it does mean that it’s not a story of going on whimsical, funny adventures to different time periods and stuff like the Doctor Who comparison led me to believe. So I’m mixed on this, but ultimately the execution that we got was well done.
And the end was awesome. I was waiting for more action, to be honest, since most of the book had this slow paced reveal about the world and their powers and stuff. But it did get there. There were some nice twisty turns – some which I predicted, and some which surprised me. But all around, I was just immensely entertained.
As a final note, the secondary characters are extremely well done. I adored the relationship between Emerson and her brother and sister-in-law. While at first I was kind of hesitant with the absent parents, I liked how this book still made family a really important aspect. Families nowadays often aren’t as traditional as we’d like to claim. Emerson’s situation is a bit messy and not optimal, but they make do because of the love they feel for each other. I really loved seeing her get along with Dru. And not only that, Emerson also has an awesome best friend. Lily may not have been around in the book as much as I wanted her to be, and a plot twist about her was completely predictable to me, but I still loved seeing their scenes together, and I hope to see more of her in the sequel.