Monday, December 19, 2011

Tempus by Tyra Lynn

Title: Tempus
Series: Tempus
Author: Tyra Lynn
Length: 6943 Kindle units
Rating: 4 stars

The Plot

Jessie has a unique gift; when she touches an object, she can see events that have occurred around that object. One day she looks into a mirror, and as she touches it, she sees a boy looking back at her.

She tries to convince herself that she must have imagined it, but she can’t stop thinking about his beautiful blue eyes. She also can’t explain the strange things going on around her – the dreams that seem so real, the strange words appearing in her diary. And when the blue-eyed boy walks into her father’s shop, she realizes that her gift may have greater implications than she ever realized.

The Good

When I read novels that I plan to review, I always go into them hoping for a five star rating and all too frequently watch the meter drop as I read through. By the time I got to the middle of Tempus, my needle was hovering around three stars, but after that, it really picked up.

I think time travel is one of the most difficult sci-fi/fantasy tropes to get right, but when it is done well, it can also be one of the most rewarding. Tyra Lynn has set up a world an original and believable, complete with illustrative diagrams. We learn that there are people who have a management role over the flow of time, but we don’t learn too much about these people or their exact job functions, but you can tell that that kind of detail is built into the world.

The Bad

The biggest con of this book is that it is too long by far. After reading the rest of the book, I understand why Ms. Lynn elected to go into such detail, but I think she could have easily cut out most of the first half, and the book would have been better off for it. We as readers simply do not need detailed descriptions of everything that Jessie ate and everything she wore. We would much rather get to the exciting parts about time travel.

My other issue with the book was the italics. Oh, my God, the italics. As a writer, I often want to italicize words to make sure that the reader knows which word in a sentence to emphasize. I nearly always remind myself to stop, though, because italics don’t as much indicate emphasis so much as they make you sound like a 13-year-old girl. Between the italics and her high energy, Jessie seemed to be much younger than her 17-year-old self, and I kept wanting to suggest that she lay off the Red Bull. She fell asleep several times in the novel, and I couldn’t help but think it was no wonder. Jessie’s life seemed exhausting.

The Romance

In the very first chapter, Jessie glimpses into a mirror and sees Gabriel, an attractive boy from the past, looking back at her. Those of us who know the paranormal romance formula immediately realize that he and Jesse are meant to be together. And I don’t mean formula in a bad way. We read these books with the hopeful knowledge that our hero and heroine will end up together at the end. Often deviation from this formula is what makes books problematic.

For the next several chapters, probably about half of what is not a short book, Jessie develops a relationship with her father’s employee Steve. We learn how Steve has liked her for a long time and how Jessie feels almost-fireworks when she kisses him. Yet during all of what seems like the early stages of a true romance, we know that eventually something is going to throw a wrench into the whole thing. So I had this little pit in my stomach saying “Poor Steve” for much of the book.

Will I read more?

I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, Tempus barely scratches the surface of its time traveling mythology, and I would love to learn more about the people who manage time in this world. On the other hand, the ending of the first book is perfect, and I am a sucker for a good ending. Seriously, I bought season 6 of Supernatural (which is now in its 7th season), but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it because the end of the 5th season was so perfect. I think I would actually be more likely to read the sequel if it took place in the same universe but were about a different character.


Post a Comment