Friday, July 1, 2011

{Review} Hourglass by Myra McEntire

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?
Title: Hourglass {Hourglass, book 1}
Author: Myra McEntire
Publication: 14th June 2011
Publisher:  Egmont
397 pages

A sequel is already planned for 2012.

My review

As I'd read a lot of positive reviews, I was afraid to be disappointed but Hourglass totally deserves those enthusiastic blurbs and it was a great read. It's an addictive, unique and refreshing novel and it kept me hooked from the first line to the last. I read it really fast, in only one standing.

In this book, we get acquainted with Emerson, a young teenage girl who has a lot to cope with. Indeed, she can see phantoms but it's sometimes difficult for her to tell who is alive and who isn't. Obviously all this leads to misunderstandings and drama, as speaking and screaming alone is always a bad thing in high school. Moreover, she also has to deal with her parents' death, and it was really moving.

Emerson is a great character, she seems real and it was easy for me to relate to her. I don't really know why - perhaps because I had just sorted out my books after moving - but she reminded me of Rose from Vampire Academy serie. She's as witty, sarcastic and snarky and I really love this kind of characters. Mickael is quite mysterious, in fact he's mysterious in a sexy kind of way. I liked him a lot, even if he is sometimes too well-behaved and reasonable for me.

At the beginning, Emerson and Michael share an awesome chemistry. It was really interesting to see them interact. Then, their story becomes more slow-paced and more conventional, but it was not unpleasant either. I also loved the secondary characters and especially Dru and Emerson's best friend, Lily. It was a pity that we didn't learn more about her, but I hope we meet her again in the sequel.

Myra McEntire's writing is smooth and the dialogues are really well-written. They are utterly tasty and amusing and they often made me laugh. The feelings are also beautifully written and it was moving to see Emerson deals with her sorrow and her parent's death. She has to cope with teenage girls’ typical issues - boys, love, changing and growing up - and some others, which are a bit deeper - depression, death, the feeling of not belonging -. I also loved the Southern atmosphere of this novel which feels real.

The plot is fast-paced, full of mysteries and twists. I had really no problem to dive in story and Hourglass kept me spellbound all along, especially thanks to its charismatic characters. I was totally unable to put it down as Myra McEntire knows how to write and how to keep her readers' attention. Some aspects of the story are a bit predictable but I still had a few surprises, especially near the ending.

To my mind, the only little weakness is the lack of explanations. Indeed, I found the whole concept really captivating but sometimes a bit confusing and complex. I must admit that, for me, I missed some explanations and I didn't always understand how this could happen or work. Some events took me by surprise and I struggled to assimilate all the ins and outs. I didn't quite understand either why some things were necessary and others were not. I know I must sound a bit cryptic but I don't want to spoil anything major.

To sum up, Hourglass is a promising debut, an original, unique and great read. I really loved it, even if I would have liked a bit more explanations. The characters are touching, the storyline is compelling and I had some surprises, especially near the end. When I read the last page I was so disappointed because I wanted it to continue. I didn't believe it was already the end, so now I really can't wait for the sequel, in 2012, and I hope I find my answers in this second book.

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