Transcendence by C.J. Omololu
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2012
[Goodreads | Amazon]
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?
I found this book to be enjoyable; it is a solid, 3-star book, nothing more, nothing less. There were moments when I was fed up with Cole and her thought process, because the choices she was making seemed a tad far-fetched, and I admit to being a little annoyed by the insta-love as well, even though it happens because Griffon and Cole are both Akhet. I get that, and was willing to look past it for the most part, but wish that there had been a bit more buildup. I also couldn’t stand Cole’s mother, who is the epitome of the stage mom characterization. She doesn’t permit Cole to do anything that would interfere with her practice, and you can tell that, while Cole enjoys playing the cello, her mother enjoys the fact that her daughter is a child prodigy. After an injury makes playing the cello impossible for at least a little while, her mother refuses to accept this and, instead of being happy that her daughter survived, can only gripe at the doctor about the fact that she can’t play, constantly reminding him that Cole is spectacular at the cello, as if her being good makes a difference. Seriously, I didn’t like the mother AT ALL.
I haven’t read too many books dealing with reincarnation, so for me this was a refreshing change from the current onslaught of other paranormal titles. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks into Cole’s previous lives, and liked watching her try to figure out how everything fit together. The flashbacks were woven seamlessly into the narrative, so they were never disorienting or confusing. I also loved the richness of the description used when describing the time periods; everything from the description of the place they were, to the fabrics they were wearing, to the temperature or smells was spot-on. Omololu really has a knack for writing her settings. The flashbacks were some of my favorite parts of this book.
I was tempted to bump this up a half star, but the truth is that this book, while having an interesting idea and well-written characters, didn’t wow or amaze me. This probably had more to do with my feelings toward Cole’s actions late in the book than anything else; it sort of made the book end on a down note for me, mostly because my annoyance level kept going up and up as the book progressed. I just felt like she did a complete 180 in terms of what she thought and felt, and it really had me scratching my head at some of the leaps in logic she was making. I also had figured out the twist regarding the villain way before it came to be in the book, and while sometimes I like having guessed the truth, this time I just felt like the hints and clues dropped by the author were a bit too heavy-handed. Plus, there is a pretty big clue regarding one of her other previous lives that comes up right at the end, and seemed inserted simply because the author wanted to set up the next book. I felt like, at that point, that putting that in sort of disrupted the narrative and the flow, and would have been better left out all together. In fact, I kind of wish this was just a standalone book, because there are so few of those being released today, and this one was tied up nicely enough – aside from that scene – that it could have been over and done with in one installment. But alas, everything seems to be a series these days!
Transcendence is a well-written, fun read that uses an interesting and new idea. The main characters are fully fleshed out and developed, and there is a smattering of humor throughout. If you’re looking for something a bit different, give this one a read. I think almost everyone would be able to find something they like about it.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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