Tempest seems to be a polarizing book. Either you love it or you hate it. In order to love it, readers need to accept Cross’ time travel rules. Forget what you know of time travel and go into this book with an open mind.
The book opens with Jackson doing a time travel experiment to prove to his friend and science geek, Adam, that what he does in the past doesn’t influence the present time. The theory is shown true until several days later when Jackson is ambushed by several mysterious people, his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot, and Jackson actually “jumps” two years into the past. Now he must figure out how to get back to his present time and save Holly from getting killed. Along the way, he uncovers killer secrets and lies that his father kept while raising Jackson.
So, Jackson can go into the past, do whatever he wants, and come back to the future with little or no repercussions. How is that possible? Well, you find out in the middle of the book that ***SPOILER: Jackson is a half-breed. His mom was a time-traveler and his dad was human, so when he jumps he can half jump (with his body still in the present and mind in the past) or full jump (his body and mind change times) END SPOILER*** This revelation can allow readers to understand the reason why Jackson can’t change things in the past when he jumps on most occasions. It is a somewhat believable explanation.
Cross creates an interesting plot line that has several twist turns and bumps along the way. It is complex but not overly complicated to follow. It keeps readers guessing who the “good guys” are. Even at the end, it is still a little unclear as to if Jackson can truly trust his dad and his organization. The ending is a tear jerker though. Readers might want to bring some Kleenex for the last few chapters.
My biggest complaint is that Jackson jumped back to the present time too easily. He learns about the various branches of time and how he could possibly jump to the present time but on another branch where his actions did affect the future. When he did get back to the current time, he jumped on the correct timeline without any detours. It seems that if he was struggling with his ability and he only fully jumped once, then it would be more difficult to find the correct timeline he was trying to get to.
Vortex is the next book in the series, and I'm looking forward to reading it. There are still enough questions left unanswered in the book to make me interested in the sequel—especially the young girl who shows Jackson a possible desolate future and says that there are people trying to make that future a reality. So many questions surround her background.
The book reminds me of the movie Jumper mixed with a touch of The Butterfly Effect. For readers that enjoy suspense, intrigue, romance, and of course sci-fi, then Tempest might be a good read for you. Just remember to keep an open mind!