Monday, April 25, 2016

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

I decided to read Hourglass because Myra McEntire will be one of the keynote speakers at UtopiaCon this summer.  Warning: This review contains spoilers.

Things I liked:

  • Protagonist Emerson Cole ventures into a world where supernatural powers seem to revolve around the manipulation of time. It’s fascinating, especially toward the end. The romance is sparky and tumultuous, with Freudian rosebuds and supernatural complications. The guy manages to be flawed without being a total asshole, and the writer doesn’t glorify his jerk moments—Emerson responds with appropriate ass-kicking.
  • As a mental health activist, I have to comment on the book’s treatment of depression and psychosis. During the first few chapters of the book, Emerson confuses her gift—seeing people from the past—with psychosis related to her depression. It’s convincing; it’s not overdone for dramatic effect. The description of disabling depression is realistic, from what I can tell. In one insightful moment, Emerson’s best friend Lily says, “The thing is, Em, you don’t know if you struggled with the depression because of your circumstances or if it’s a chemical thing. You might have to deal with it again.”

Things I didn’t like:

  • This book embraces some tropes I’m rather tired of. Why does every character in a book have to be gorgeous? Somebody throw me a realistic Jane Eyre once in a while. I get enough of gorgeous people from TV shows, I don’t need them in my books. This is a matter of personal taste, but compound it with dubiously necessary love triangulation, and I’m in “I’ve read this before” territory. Then you’ve got all the tropes that go along with that—MC’s best friend pervs over love interest, MC pervs over love interest’s best friend
  • There are no consequences to any action that the MC takes. Well, okay, she gets grounded. But her crimes include multiple counts of breaking and entering, messing with two guys who are best friends, and jeopardizing the space-time continuum. She gets off really easy.
  • Emerson doesn’t struggle enough with fear. I like it when characters do courageous things in the face of their fear. Emerson is conveniently fearless.
  • There’s also a very unnecessary gun.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, though, so I award it: 4/5 stars.