Monday, May 10, 2010

Review - THE HOURGLASS DOOR

The Hourglass Door - Lisa Mangum
Genre: YA fantasy
# of pages: 399 (hardback)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time? Abby's senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves.

My Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to start the sequel, The Golden Spiral. First of all, I have to mention the cover design. It's beautiful, especially for a first-time author (honest to goodness, sometimes I think debut authors get jipped on cover art) and I definitely appreciate a good pretty cover!

The Hourglass Door is an especially fun read because it's quite different from a lot of other YA books floating around out there. There aren't any paranormal creatures in this book (which accounts for I'd say half of the YA fantasy genre); instead we are immersed in a story about time travel. Don't worry - that's not really a spoiler. It's actually pretty original, too: Yes, Mangum isn't the first person to write about time-traveling, but she certainly thought up a lot of really cool twists that makes reading Hourglass a fun and exhilarating experience.
I also have to give props to Mangum for creating a functional love story. I absolutely loved Abby and Dante (for the most part) because their relationship made sense. Let's face it - as much as we all love paranormal romance, sometimes those said romances can be a little on the dysfunctional side. That's not really a judgment, because it's fiction, not real life, but still...I'll admit to reading love stories in YA books and going, "Huh?" "What?" "Yeah right!" and "Ohhhhkay..." That doesn't happen here. Why? Pretty much because for all Dante's intrigue, he's not really dangerous. Now, the book tries to portray him as being edgy, but really every scene that Mangum puts him in, he behaves like a model protagonist. And to that, I say "It's about blooming TIME!" He's not arrogant. He's not a two-timer. He doesn't treat the MC like crap. Hey, what's not to love?

As much as I love this book - and highly recommend it, too - I do feel the need to address some minor points. There's a bit of a pacing issue in Hourglass, I think, and it can get kind of distracting. The book is 399 pages long, and I honestly don't think all of those pages were necessary. This is a YA fantasy book, but at several points in the story it read more like realistic fiction. I totally understand why: several authors get a little too immersed in the action of their stories that they don't focus on character development (*coughINCARCERON!*cough); here, you really do see into Abby's life and her relationships with those around her...in fact, I'd say you see a little too much, and it takes the focus off the fantasy aspects until about the last 15o pages or so. Don't freak out, but I'll quickly compare it to Twilight: you have a 1st person narrative that chronicles even the most microscopic details - ahhh, Bella. With her, it was like head-bashingly annoying; here, it's just like "Okay, move it along, move along..." I'll admit to skimming a little. Also, the teens in the story don't talk like teens at all. Wait, yeah they do---think the cast of "Happy Days." If you go to goodreads, you'll see a lot of reviews that point this out - I honestly didn't think it was that distracting, but still.

Final Rating:
So please, please PLEASE give this book a try - if ever there's a book that I strongly recommend to others, it's this one.

4 shout-outs!:

Dazzling Mage said...

Awesome review. And love the cover! I've never read about time travel (unless you count Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban.. was that time travel?). But anyway, totally understand with the chunk of character development. I'd think it's hard to develop a character *while* pacing the story though... Hmm..

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome review :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

I was wondering on this book when I first saw it. I am glad to hear you really enjoyed it. I didn't realize at the time it was just of time travel, but sounds like a great read. Thank you!

Okie said...

Great review. I read this book a while back and really enjoyed it. I had some of the same complaints you did (that there was a bit of extraneous content that could be pared out, that there were some things I would have liked more detail on, etc.) but overall it was a great story.

I look forward to hopping into book 2...hopefully over the summer.

 
Blog designed by Dreamy Blog Designs using Joifa Designs Birght Night and Cozy kit