Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

Hello, there! Lisa here with today’s pick, my most recent read, Lisa Mangum’s debut novel, The Hourglass Door.


Description from

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 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.

I seem to be one of the slim few (really, check the reviews) who didn’t really fall in love with this book.  It’s being hailed as a Twilight-esque romance, which I suppose it is, but something just didn’t click for me.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some great concepts here, and some of the descriptions are fabu, but I just didn’t get all that captivated with the main character, or even her love interest.  The bad guys are a bit too bad, and the good guys are almost too good.  But my biggest problem with the novel may yet be answered in the sequel…

Because the thing is, Dante shows up on the scene and seems to be in love with Abby automatically.  The vice-versa happens pretty quickly also, but we’re inside Abby’s head, so it’s only really her side that we get to see.  She never questions (as many a teenager might) just what Dante, gorgeous darksome mystery boy sees in her of all people… and as the reader, I’m very curious.  But there’s a hint of intrigue on that part, just the smallest hint that you might blink and miss, and so I find myself wanting to read the sequel (The Golden Spiral, due out 2010) despite my feelings thus far.  I have to give some credit to the fact that this is a debut novel, after all, and the last forty pages or so really are done wonderfully, setting up the next book nicely, and there are a few side characters (one in particular) who are really very nice additions.  I admit that she pulled a number or two over on me as well, which I’ll let you find out about for yourself, if you like. 😉

This does feel a bit like a Twilight rebound book, but it’s not a copy of the story by any means.  Mangum’s mythology is definitely all her own, which is a nice thing to come across in fantasy these days.  Certainly Hollow-Tree worthy, at that, with something as simple as walking through a door…

I think I’ll give it a hopeful C+ rating… if some big questions are answered in the sequel (why is Abby so special, for example?) then that could end up being raised, but we’ll have to wait and see!

About Lisa Asanuma

Lisa is a professional freelance writer and editor, along with a bookbinder and knitting obsessee. Lisa has a passion for YA literature (inside her passion for literature in general) and is currently querying on her first novel. View all posts by Lisa Asanuma

8 responses to “Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

  • Julie

    I’ll add it to my list. I’m constantly looking for more books… its a sickness I tell you!

  • Isabelle

    I’m curious to see just how Twilight-esque this book really is. And I’d love to check out the mythology as well. Maybe I’ll pick it up. I don’t tend to like extreme good/bad characters. I like the ones that swim in grey! 🙂

    • Lisa

      It is, and then it isn’t. —> No Jacob Black, so far as I can see, and you know my opinion on that. haha Kidding. 😉

      And yes, grey-scale characters certainly are a bit more interesting, I think.

  • Cristin

    The amount of TWILIGHT rip-offs floating around these days is truly staggering, there may even be more than there were of HARRY POTTER in its heyday. I read one book a few months ago that read like the author had just done a search and replace, changing every ‘vampire’ into ‘psychic’ and then hitting print. It was staggering. Blegh. (Particularly since I can’t stand TWILIGHT in the first place, let alone a watered-down rip-off version.)

    I feel like that falling in love too quickly thing is a problem with a lot of YA I read. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be some reflection on actual teenagers and the way their relationships can form very quickly, or if it’s just poor pacing and/or impatience on the part of the author, although I’m usually inclined towards the latter. It drives me crazy, because it makes it really hard to emotionally invest in a relationship that doesn’t feel earned.

    I love the cover, though! 🙂 And the time-traveling aspect seems interesting. I think I may wait and see how the sequel turns out, though.

    • Lisa

      Hi Cristin! 🙂 The cover is beautiful, isn’t it? I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. haha I think you’re right about there being more Twilight copies than HP ones, because what’s easier to copy—one dark and mysterious hottie or a whole school/world full of widely diverse characters? Not that I’m biased one way or the other. 😛

      I think on occasion the love-at-first-sight thing works in fiction… Sometimes I like knowing who is, or should end up together by the end (though I certainly like being surprised, too!) but at the same time I really feel that there has to be a reason, a cause. Something solid that we can point to as the reason that one character is completely gone on the other… which I didn’t feel there was here, though again, there’s a possibility that that will be answered in the sequel.

  • thephoneix

    Sounds interesting. Will definitely add it to the pile of books that I want to finish before the summer concludes. 😉

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