08 October 2012

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.
When I first read the synopsis for Time Between Us, the overbearing, overanxious skeptic inside of me recognized the signs for a potentially epic fail.  Nothing in the book's summary promised any kind of originality, except that the bulk of the story appeared to be set in 1995 and not 2012.  I read it only because it's happened before: a dull, predictable synopsis that completely understated an entire novel.  In this case, however, a dull, predictable novel was exactly what I got.  The main character, Anna, was two-dimensional and irksome, Bennett was far too whipped to be of any interest, and the plot held promise but ultimately fell flat.

Anna was too glossy.  Superficial.  All shiny surface and no depth.  She was the narrator of the story, yet she had no distinct voice.  It could've been told from anyone's point of view and I wouldn't have been able to differentiate between them.  It was as if Tamara Ireland Stone didn't delve deep enough to discover what was so compelling about this character, and that lack of compassion made me think, Why am I supposed to care about this character?  I couldn't get behind any of her childish, immature choices because none of her decisions were backed up by motivation.  Bennett was possibly glossier than Anna.  While he had bursts of anger and passion that gave him a little flavor, he had no backbone -- it was all mushy from his undying love for Anna.  As a result of both the main characters flopping, the romance fell apart for me.  I didn't even bother with it.

The plot was entirely too predictable.  In every story, there has to be conflict, build ups and payoffs, but conflicts that push characters.  While there was some tension created by high stakes, they were not high enough.  A story should keep raising the stakes until they build to a breaking point -- a point where my respect for a character is determined based on the character's decision under the ultimate stress.  Anna's decision at this ultimate point was painfully obvious from several chapters away.  As was the ending.  I actually skipped a chapter or two because just by skimming ahead, I could tell what happened.  When I can remove entire scenes from the plot, and it still makes sense, it means those scenes shouldn't have been there.  The plot wasn't tight enough.

Maybe something could've been salvaged if I had been able to get behind the writing style.  But it was all telling.  I was told what Anna was doing like it was coming from someone else, even though it was in first person.  This created a huge emotional gap between me and Anna.  She eventually became so cookie cutter, I wanted to give up halfway through the story.

I really wanted to like this book because time travel is such a cool concept that I haven't spent a lot of time reading about.  I don't really even see it that often.  While I liked the mechanics behind Tamara Ireland Stone's ideas on time travel, it wasn't enough to make me passionate about the story.  Ultimately, I was left dissatisfied and unimpressed.

Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 384
  • published - October 2012
  • publisher - Hyperion
  • genre - paranormal romance
  • received via - Southern Book Bloggers
  • rating - 2/5