Sunday, April 11, 2010

Review: The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

The Hourglass Door (Book 1 of The Hourglass Trilogy)
by Lisa Mangum
2009 Shadow Mountain
Hardcopy Edition; 401 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

5 / 5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
Abby's senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cut boyfriend, and college applications in the mail.  But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down.  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 not only her future but the lives of those she loves.

My Thoughts
I found myself pleasantly surprised by this novel and really enjoyed everything about it.  I found the writing to be clear and smooth, definitely accessible to the reader at which it was aimed, but also smart and captivating, keeping me enthralled and fascinated thoughout.  There is an ease to her writing that makes reading such a pleasure.

The characters in the novel were extremely interesting, with a lot of depth to them.  Abby was immediately drawn to Dante, although she tried to deny it for quite a long time, and the personal conflict that ensued, was very interesting.  She was already dating Jason, a boy whom she has known since her early childhood, and I'm glad the author wrote of the break-up with the sensitivity and compassion she did, as any break-up is difficult.  You could sense the deterioration of Abby and Jason's relationship and the growth of Abby and Dante's relationship, and you really didn't know who to cheer for as both of these guys are great guys.  And although Abby realized she was not the one for Jason, her struggle dealing with the aftermath of a break-up and watching him date another girl, is interesting and intriguing.  I was in awe of the author's writing skills.

Dante however, fascinates me.  He is so full of mystery and intrigue, and what girl does not like a dark, mysterious, handsome guy.  Throw in an Italian accent, and a foreign charm and naturally the woman would be surrounding him.  There was enough intrigue surrounding Dante and the things that were happening around him, that it kept up my interest in the novel so that I wanted to know what was going on.  However, in some ways, we are meant to be disappointed as not all the answers are given to us in this novel.  I think this is the only complaint I have with this novel is that there are many loose ends, many of which I hope are answered in book two which comes out this spring.

Another aspect of this novel that I like are the teen hangouts.  I really enjoyed the descriptions of The Dungeon, maybe because it reminds me of a university bar I used to hang out at and all of the ensuing memories.  It's an interesting place and a lot of the plot revolves around it.  I also like the Shakespearean play they are putting on, as I haven't ignored the irony of that.  So many things happen during the rehearsals and during the actual play that make it a great (and unusual) setting.  I also like the normalcy of girls going to the swing sets just to think and the juxtaposition was not lost on me.  So many things happen that the calm and quiet moments help the reader to think and gather their thoughts before the next big event.

I was intrigued by Valerie, Abby's best friend, and their deteriorating relationship, especially as it was over a boy.  I felt sorry for Valerie and the things she did, and I did not want to see her hurt.  My other disappointment in this novel is not really knowing exactly what happened to her and I'm hoping we learn and see more of her in the second novel.  I found her character to be very interesting and I didn't want to see her destroyed by any of the Zero Hour gang. 

I absolutely loved this book and can't wait until the next book comes out this summer.  I was fascinated by the relationships between Jason and Abby, between Abby and Dante, as well as the role that Zo, V, and Tony have to play in Dante's life.  There are so many questions that I have that were not answered in this novel, but I am hoping they are revealed in the next book as Ms. Mangum has listed this book as being part of a trilogy.  I was immediately caught up in the intiguing storyline, a plot that had many twists and turns, and a great mystery, and there was enough romance to satisfy me.  I thought the time machine and the river were original and quite creative, and I am curious to see what happens to Abby and Dante and all the rest of the characters in the next book.  The Hourglass Door was a fun book with a great storyline and fantastic writing!


  1. This one sounds really interesting and I've never heard of it. Off to put it on my wishlist. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Fantastic review! This one is on my TBR list and now I can't wait to read it. When I saw the name Dante and Florence I couldn't help but think of the author Dante and The Divine Comedy.

  3. Added to my wishlist! Again another author I had not heard of!

  4. Ive read this book and its is one of my favorites it was different then any other book I thought like many books today that are vampire books Dante was a vampire, but he wasnt just someone who was from the past and came through a time machine which was different. I loved the romance abby and dante had and the drama with zo and his gang made it more interesting, it made it not just romance, but action also. I liked how she ended it with Abby having instructions to build the timemachine back up it made me have hpoe her and dante would be back together and cant wait to get the 2nd book.

  5. i've read this book and will again. i would advise any one how is looking for a good book to read the hourglass door. It has to be one of the best books I;ve ever read. It's full of advencher, mystery, romance, and much more. i started reading this book and could not stop litrally it just ceeps drowing you in. If you read this book i promis you will have no regrets.

    1. i totaly agree with you its the best book ever. i prsonly liked it so much i think it sould be a movie. that i mean would be so cool.

    2. i aggree with you in that one. a movie would be grate.