23 junho 2011

Review: Hourglass (Myra McEntire)

Publisher: Egmont USA (2011)
Format:  Hardcover | 397 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Science-Fiction
Description (Goodreads): "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.
"
Warning: Contains SPOILERS!
I recently said in my Goodreads status that I should stop buying books just because people all around the internet say the book is "so good" and that everyone should "go read it now!". This applies very much to Hourglass. This book has been praised again and again since months before it's release and everyone loved it so much and fangirled so much I thought it had to be good. If only.

It's not that it was very bad (I've read worse books this year) it's that it was... well, not that good and mind-blowing like all the praise suggested. Hourglass is basically... a paranormal romance. And a very stereotyped one as well, as the author manages to condense every cliche ever found in YA romance in this book; we have insta-romance, a hot guy that every girl drools over but ignores beautiful girls in favor of the pretty but not as much heroine, the cold guy who wants no relationship but then sends mixed signals to our heroine, the guy who seems to be keeping secrets and be somewhat evil but doesn't drive the heroine away (she is persistent - or dumb, depending on your point of view) and last but not least... a love triangle!

As you can already guess most of the book focuses on these tropes and there are pages and pages of descriptions about how hot Michael is, how short Emerson is, how mysterious everything is (and bad Michael seems to be keeping secrets) and how light bulbs go out when they touch. Oh and how Kaleb (guy number two in the love triangle) is fit. And let's not forget that Emerson's and Michael's connection is "special" and they are in love because of it (instead of in spite of it... I could have stomached that better).

And now you ask if there is another story besides the romantic one. There is, of course. None of the protagonists is "normal" so to speak. Actually the basic story for Hourglass is pretty interesting, but as if it weren't enough to dedicate most of the book to teens swooning because of love, McEntire wasn't able to make her premise feel realistic to the reader (or at least to me, one reader). Time-Travel is all well and good, but the explanations fell short and didn't convince. Some parts aren't even explained. And after all the amazing concepts about genes and time-travel, they can't do it without a third person?
So I'll give points to the author for originality, but why she chose to not use her amazing concept to it's full potential I don't know. The book would have been so much more interesting if it focused on the time-travel element and the Hourglass organization and even of the abilities of other, minor, characters (which are never satisfactorily explained either).

Speaking of characters I wasn't very fond of any of them really. Emerson was 'okay' but unremarkable (seems common fare for heroines these days... to be lacking personality and still being able to attract older, gorgeous guys) and Michael is a walking stereotype of dark, dangerous and a bit tortured (not much though... in this case the heroine is the the one tortured by the past). I was curious about some of the minor characters like Lily, Nate and Duna but they were pretty much the equivalent of background figures and/or drones. Still thought them more interesting than the main characters. Oh and Landers... wanted to know more about him, but the author didn't want to explain his motivations (although it seemed he had some throughout the book) and made him a regular villain in the end.

Overall: I was very disappointed with Hourglass. It's so much less than what I expected (silly me for reading raving reviews, or reviews at all) perhaps because I had high expectations. But it could have been much more than just another paranormal teen romance. The concept, if well explored, would have birthed a great (and pretty original) story. I'm sorry it didn't and that it ended up being such a stereotyped YA book.

5 comentários:

Ana C. Nunes disse...

Recently I read a review that said the main character (girl) spent countless pages raving about the main boy's body. Just for that, I knew I wouldn't pick this book up. I'm tired of insta-loves that aren't love at all, but simple atraction.

And according to your review (very explanatyory and well constructed), I believe the other was right. It's a pity because I'd also heard great things about the book, but it really sounds just like any other YA paranormal romance out there. :(

Cat SaDiablo disse...

Great expectations are bitches!
:P

p7 disse...

For the amount of guys you mention on the 2nd paragraph, I thought this was a love n-angle. xD

Why do YA authors heavy rely on people swooning over each other and fail to create good plots and worldbuiding? Teenagers are full of hormones, but are not that silly. *roll eyes*

slayra disse...

Ana: Thanks, lol. I didn't read that review or I'd have thought twice about buying this. Hourglass has enourmous potential, but the way it was written... ugh.

Cat: Yep, big bitches. :P

slayra disse...

p7: no, they're all the same guy (Michael). :P LOL, I see it's a bit confusing, I'll try to rewrite that part soon. :D