Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Hourglass Door - Lisa Mangum

Wow.

Oh, wait - a book review is supposed to be longer than that.

Okay ...

Wooooowwwwwww.


If that's not enough to make you dash out to preorder, I guess I'll have to work a little harder to convince you.

Abby is a seventeen-year-old who believes she has a perfect life. Her boyfriend sees to her every need, she's the assistant director of the school play, she's getting ready to apply for college, and everything seems in balance until the new foreign exchange student comes to school. His name is Dante, he's Italian, and he's gorgeous. Abby finds herself drawn to him, and soon learns his secret ... he was born in the fifteenth century and was sent to this time as part of his punishment for a crime he didn't commit. Now a prisoner of time, he must do everything he can to safeguard the balance of his existence or all will be lost. That's pretty much the story in a nutshell, but I want to move on and talk about the component of the book that really drew me in, and that was the writing.

Lisa Mangum has worked for Deseret Book for years, familiar with the ins and outs of the market, the publishing process, and the editing world. That said, it's entirely possible to be extremely proficient in the industry without necessarily being able to write oneself. And having said that, may I now say, Lisa is an outstanding writer. Her turns of phrase, her plotting pace, her characterization, the playoff between tension and tenderness ... brilliant. There were some sentences that caused me to go back and reread just because I wanted to appreciate the structure again. That doesn't happen to me a whole lot.

Some critics may draw comparisons between this book and Twilight. I'll agree-there are some similarities. Handsome, unusual guy comes into girl's life, knocks her for a loop, and then reveals a deep, dark secret. However, this is a basic storyline that has worked for authors in the past and will continue to work in the future. It's an established plot-a classic, really- not too far different from special child discovers ability to save the world. But Lisa's book is far different from Stephenie's in many other crucial ways, most notably in the writing technique. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed Twilight and I don't mean to knock it - but when you've got a book like The Hourglass Door that does have its similarities, you can't help but compare and this one comes out the winner, in my opinion.

I congratulate Lisa on a job well done and I can't wait for the sequel to be released. Rats - it doesn't come out until summer of 2010. Tapping my fingernails ... it's going to be a long wait.

15 comments:

LexiconLuvr said...

Oh...JEALOUSY RUNNING RAMPANT! I wish I could get my hands on it already!!!

Ali Cross said...

Coolness! I can't wait!

Great review Tristi, thanks :)

ally condie said...

I loved this book, too, Tristi. And I think your review is spot-on! Especially the part about similarities to Twilight--the dangerous older guy meets girl plot has been around for centuries and didn't start with Stephenie Meyer. It's what Lisa has done with that basic plot that matters. And she's done an amazing job!

violetlady said...

Tristi - a beautiful review.

Mother Goose said...

i love to find a blog with a book review! I am anxious to see your goodies.

Mother Goose said...

found you from mmmm

Mother Goose said...

WHAT, I just realized you're an author. Forget it, don't read my blog. you will find, no capitalization, punctuation, and run on sentences everywhere and words spelled wrong, not on purpose.
blame it on my southern edumacation.

Mother Goose said...

shoot, i was on your other blog and then I read this is your regular blog. so, I will be visiting you HERE!

Carolyn V. said...

I'm so excited for her! I read her blog and how excited she was. Now I can't wait to read the book!

Framed said...

When I read this, I thought I had already read her books, but no, that was Kay Lynn Mangum, whose books I love. But this book sounds really, really good also; so onto to the TBR list it goes. In fact, I have several books on that list that you've recommended.

Diony said...

Now I'm even more excited to read it.

Heather Justesen said...

I totally agree. Great read. Lisa is going to go far. (watch out Jeff, James and Brandon, you have some serious competition for next year's Whitney Award!)

Valerie said...

I very rarely read fiction books, but this one has me curious. I think I'll check it out. Thanks for the review.

Gamila said...

I just finished reading this book.

I agree with the twilight thing. It really is similar, and I found it annoying at the beginning, and was going to be mad if Dante was a vampire, but it was a totally new plot and set up.

I must also say that I liked it better than twilight. A lot better, and what can I say? You are right about Lisa being able to turn a beautiful phrase. Some awesome and brilliant writing.

kenzi said...

I love this book!!!!!!!!! Lisa Mangum is an amazing author!

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