The Hourglass Door Review

Thursday, September 2, 2010

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 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. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens no only her future but the lives of those she loves.

Taken from GoodReads

I've never read a review for The Hourglass Door, so I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. The story follows Abby Edmunds, a high school senior with everything in the world going for her, despite the fact that she feels stifled and trapped by the monotony of her life. Her boyfriend, Jason, is the epitome of kind and caring, but she feels her life and relationships lack spontaneity. Enter Dante Alexander, a mysterious, quiet, and brooding stranger that she feels oddly drawn to. As she grows closer to him and further from her friends and everyday life, Abby realizes Dante's secrets expand the reach of time...literally...and she has one shot to save him and maintain the balance of time forever.

I'll admit, I was a bit wary of The Hourglass Door because it sounded almost formulaic on the back - hot bad-boy, girl-next-door, big BIG trouble. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by the story. I found Abby's character to be extremely accessible and relatable. What teenager (or adult, for that matter) hasn't felt stifled, or trapped, or lost before? She had everything going for her, but she needed something more. Dante was much more reserved. I felt like I didn't really get to know his character until the main action started but, in this case, I think this works. I will also say that I felt Abby and Dante's relationship seemed quite rushed and a bit hasty at points.

Now, I have to be nit-picky. The prologue put me off a little bit because, frankly, I hadn't read the reviews, so I had no idea it had anything to do with a time machine until it was brought into play. I assume that's my fault, but nevertheless, I was confused. The Hourglass Door presents an original idea, and I have to say that the greatest strength of this book is Lisa Mangum's amazing descriptions. The way she described time being a fluid, everlasting element was beautiful and one of the highlights of The Hourglass Door for me.

The Hourglass Door is beautifully written, and I love the style of Lisa Mangum. She offers enough twists, turns, and beautiful prose to set this book apart from otherwise similar novels. While a few parts were confusing to me (apparently I'm not that smart about the fundamentals of time travel), I enjoyed this book as a whole. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I would recommend it to all YA fans, especially those who love sci-fi and fantasy. The sequel, The Golden Spiral, is in stores now.

P.S. I'm going to a book signing for Lisa Mangum this weekend, and I have a surprise for all of you, so stay tuned!


  1. Nice review Melissa...I haven't read any novels featuring time travel...something to think about for my year challenge of reading books outside the box for me :)

  2. Sounds great.
    Great review!

    I avoid prologues like the plaque. They always ruin things for me. :)

  3. I too found the prologue really obscure, but I think maybe the author just wanted to heighten the mystery around the time travel premise and make things a bit more difficult to guess. What I had more of an issue with was Dante and Abby's relationship - it felt a little unrealistic (as did Dante's character) to me. Nice review!

  4. I'm loving the sound of this! I also love how you said it was beautifully written - that's essential! This is the first review I've read of The Hourglass Door, and you've made me want to read it!

  5. Thanks for a nice review. I had fun with this book and picked up the sequel but haven't read it yet.

    My main problems with the book were:
    1- the extensive attention on the school play...while interesting, it didn't seem to play "THAT" much of a part. However, it served as a good interlude as well as a good alternate setting.
    2- there were moments that the relationships (between all characters at times) felt a little forced. Sometimes the awkwardness felt realistic, other times it felt underdeveloped.

    Still, overall I enjoyed the book and look forward to continuing the adventure (especially given the direction it looks to take based on the ending of this book)

  6. This is the first time I have heard of this one, i'm intrigued, great review.

    Prologues most times give it away but I always read them.

  7. A time machine, I like that. And fantasy and sci-fi are huge favs with me. perhaps

  8. Hey girl! glad you liked it.
    And omg, I was a wee bit befuddled by the prologue too! I didn't know it was time-travel beforehand, so that was kind of confusing. And also, I'd heard so much about Dante being a "bad boy" and all, but I would totally argue that he's not a bad boy, just a mysterious, reserved boy! haha, that' what I liked about him. Mean, dangerous, arrogant bad boys can just go sit in detention for all I care, mwahaha. Anyway, will you read THE GOLDEN SPIRAL next? I've got it on my shelf, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

  9. I seriously never read a prologue. I usually put it off till the end. Then I only read it if the book was incredible.

  10. You are right about this book not being reviewed much or at all (your review is the first I have read), but I like what you had to say, and I actually like time machine concepts, so I think I may have to give this one a try. Thanks for the review.

  11. Great review! I'm glad it's not just the typical formulaic YA book.
    Alison Can Read

  12. Huh, I didn't realize that's what this one was about either. I'm usually not the time-travely-type but it still sounds interesting...

  13. Have not heard of this one but I'm glad that it broke through the usual YA formula. Cool!

  14. Thank you for the honest review!! Prologues almost always put me off no matter what they are about. I always feel so confused and bewildered...

  15. I'm just about to start this book. Thanks for the review.


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