Thursday, March 8, 2012

Transcender: First-Timer by Vicky Savage

Title: Transcender: First Timer
Series: Transcender
Author: Vicky Savage
Length: 6931 Kindle units
Rating: 5 stars

The Plot              

Jaden’s life hasn’t been the same since her mother died, but she never thought that her wish for a new life would be taken so literally. On night she falls over and gets up to find herself in a completely different version of Earth. In her new world, the earth was hit by a comet 300 years ago, and now the only remaining pockets of human life reside in large domes constructed by a beneficent organization called the Inter-Universal Guidance Agency (IUGA).

Jaden is thrilled to find out that her mother is alive in this universe, but she is somewhat surprised to discover that her mother is queen of Domerica, making Jaden the princess and heir to the throne. An agent from IUGA is working to get her home as soon as possible, but until then Jaden must do her best to step into Princess Jaden’s life. She has to be careful, though, because in this world, even her smallest wrong move can lead to devastating consequences for all of humanity.

The Good

I thoroughly enjoyed Transcender. I found the story very relatable, because, really, who doesn’t want to wake up in a world where they are the crown princess of a sizable nation? Sure, it’s a lot of work and responsibility, but you get to be rich AND have the ability to fix the world so that it’s better for everyone. Sure some of the people in the book talk how a monarchy is outdated and they should switch to democracy, but benevolent dictatorship has always been my government of choice. And the leaders in Domerica were good people who were trying to do the best for the world they lived in. I suppose one could argue that this is unrealistic, but if you’re going to create a fantasy world, you might as well create a nice one.

Transcender had an excellent balance between political world plot and interpersonal issues. Jaden must deal not only with the sociopolitical conflicts that Domerica struggles with but also with personal issues, both the cosmic, like being a Transcender away from home, and the personal, like figuring out how to be with her one true love Ryder Blackthorn. I never feel like Jaden’s life and feelings are being trampled over by the global issues, nor do I feel like she’s worried about silly things when the fate of the world is at stake. As a character, Jaden is able to determine what is important and how much energy to focus on it.

The Bad

I have a few trepidations regarding the inter-universal travel mythology. Parallel dimensions seem to co-occur with each other along the same time line. Yet when Jaden leaves, her original universe is frozen in time, which makes me wonder how it can remain on synch with the other universes. Won’t it get behind? And wouldn’t you expect the same thing to have happened to other transcenders in the past, so wouldn’t all the time lines be out of synch? There is also some stuff that is not fully explored regarding whether Jaden can or cannot take her body with her when she travels between universes. This is likely to come up more in the second book, where it will hopefully be more fleshed out. Until then I shall ignore the vague fears of inconsistent mythology and focus on the book being awesome.

Also, Jaden’s talking pet koala-monkeys are seriously creepy.

The Romance

Before we even meet Jaden, we know that she is about to meet her true love, which does take some of the surprise out of the romance, but that’s okay because she and Ryder still have many obstacles to overcome. First off there’s the problem that he and Jaden are not from the same universe, and that she needs to return to hers as quickly as possible. Then there’s the fact that Ryder has kidnapped her Princess self in order to convince the queen to talk about the radiation sickness that’s killing his people, the Unicoi. Holding Jaden for ransom definitely does not endear him to her family, by which I mean he becomes a wanted fugitive in the country that she is supposed to rule. So, the boy she will choose may be a foregone conclusion, but the happily ever after definitely isn’t, so the romance is worth sticking around for.

Will I read more?

Of course I will read more! I must find out how all the threads of the different universes tie into a neat mythology, and I must discover whether Ryder and Jaden can prove that love conquers all. Plus all that other stuff that needs sorting out, like the Unicoi dying out and the domes being on the brink of war. It’s all very exciting, so I hope to be seeing book two soon.

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