25 January 2012

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum


His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time?Abby's senior year of high school is textbook perfect: She has a handsome and attentive boyfriend, good friends, good grades, and plans to attend college next year. But when she meets Dante Alexander, a foreign-exchange student from Italy, her life suddenly takes a different turn. 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. Time behaves differently when they are together - traveling too fast or too slow or sometimes seeming to stop altogether. When the band Zero Hour performs at the local hangout, Abby realizes that there's something dangerous about the lead singer, Zo, and his band mates, Tony and V. Oddly, the three of them are also from Italy and have a strange relationship to Dante. They also hold a bizarre influence over their audience when performing. And Abby's best friend, Valerie, is caught in their snare. Dante tells Abby the truth of his past: he once worked for Leonardo Da Vinci, helping to design and build a time machine. When Dante was falsely implicated as a traitor to his country, he was sent through the machine more than five hundred years into the future as punishment. As the past and the present collide, Abby learns that she holds a special power over the flow of time itself. She and Dante must stop Zo from opening the time machine's door and endangering everyone's future. More than one life is at stake and Abby's choice could change everything.
This book is one that I’m really regretting putting off. I’ve had it on my shelf for quite a while, but I never got around to picking it up. I’m glad I finally did, though, because it’s a great book and seems to be the launch of a great series. I think the best of it is the realism in Abby’s life. Abby is a typical teenager with a typical steady boyfriend and two typical parents who set typical rules and limitations for Abby’s life. I know I make it sound boring but it really is refreshing to find a teenager in a YA book who has to work around parents and rules as plot points instead of just staying out fighting bad guys or romancing cute guys until the sun comes up without any consequences. Abby also deals with the situations that face her in a very realistic way. She develops a friendship with Dante that develops into more because of their attraction. This means she has to deal with her steady boyfriend, and Abby accomplishes this with a maturity that is mature but still teenaged. It is these regular, typical situations that really characterize Abby, however, Mangum does an excellent job of using them to make Abby and Dante’s relationship seem exciting and exotic which really serves to enhance the characterization of Abby as she works through how to deal with the emotional situations she is put in. Although we see less of Dante I liked him as a character as well. He seemed to have solid motivations behind his actions even when Abby wasn’t aware of them herself. I’d also like to think that he truly tries to stay away from and protect Abby, which makes the “love of destiny” issues a little less creepy (although I think they are still rather problematic no matter how healthy the relationship is that results from it). The plot moves faster than in most romance stories, and the tension between Dante and the people out to get him make the story more than just infatuation turning to love. The time-travelling plot twists are a long time coming, but they do push this book over the edge into a fantasy-like science fiction, even though the science in the book is flimsy, and although there is a rational-but-tenuous explanation for the time travel the resulting method it happens in seems more like fantasy than science to me. I can take a little fantasy in my science fiction, however, and in all I think this book is worth a look by fans of a good time-travelling romance/mystery, and I’ll be rushing out to get the rest of the books to complete the series. This book was a free ARC provided to me through LibraryThing. I received no compensation for this review. Unfortunately I did not receive the sequels, so I will be going out to get them posthaste!

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