Paranormal-ish Young Adult
Walker & Company
Received from publisher through Netgalley
THE STORY (from Goodreads)When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.
Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?
MY THOUGHTSTranscendence starts out strong, an emotional and violent vision assaulting our heroine as she wanders the Tower of London with her sister serving to yank us into the story as we can't help but wonder how a woman with so tragic a fate as the one in the vision is linked to sixteen year-old Cole. Things continue in a rather fascinating vein from there, numerous flashbacks to both the woman facing public execution as well as a young Italian immigrant with an extraordinary talent for music keeping our attention glued to the pages as we look for the clues that will link everything together. Certain aspects of the story we see coming, however Ms. Omololu also manages to toss a few surprises in the mix to keep us sufficiently on our toes, and we make our way quickly and easily to the end, enjoying asking ourselves the “what if” questions that inevitably accompany ruminations on reincarnation and past lives.
Much like the story itself, Cole makes a memorable first impression as we're tossed around in the temporal confusion of her past and present lifetimes with her, and we share in her desire to figure out who these two young women were and what exactly happened to them. She’s adorably awkward with Griffon in the beginning, checking her phone an absurd number of times to see if he’s called and hyperaware of his every movement, but about midway through she starts to shift forms – going from an interesting young woman with a sweet crush to a more stereotypical young adult heroine who makes rash decisions and jumps to drastic conclusions without taking a moment to truly think things through.
While some behaviors can be given a bit of a free pass due to her young age and the enormity of the pressure she’s suddenly under given the new memories dominating her life, there’s one particular instance with regard to Griffon toward the end that elicits a groan from us as she does the exact opposite of what we’d like her to do. Her best friend Rayne thankfully is a voice of reason, pointing out Cole’s dramatics to her and acting as a logical devil’s advocate, and though it falls on deaf ears, we at least take comfort in her more level-headed nature. Granted, should Cole have approached the situation logically and with a tad more maturity, the climactic conclusion might not have been quite so action-packed, but there are times when the desire for a teenage character to demonstrate rationality far outweighs the need for a dramatic showdown.
Despite the drawback of Cole’s behavior toward the end, Transcendence is a story with legs – the intricacies of reincarnation opening up a myriad of possibilities and guaranteeing us an entertaining journey as Cole’s memories come trickling back bit by bit. The sneak peek of book two at the end promises emotional upheaval for our two young (or old depending on how you look at it) protagonists moving forward, and that promise stays with us after we finish – a glorious taunt to ensure we come back for more.