Merin is a teacher, a book blogger, a baseball addict (Go Cardinals!), lover of music, movies and TV crime dramas, and YA/MG connoisseur. Follow me on my blog at http://ahandfulofconfetti.wordpress.com!
Transcendence was an interesting look at reincarnation, and what would happen if you could remember all of your previous lifetimes. Cole is a child prodigy cellist, who, while on vacation with her sister and father in London, starts experiencing ridiculously real visions of things that happened in the past. During one of these visions, she meets Griffon, a boy who she seems to have a startling connection to, considering that they've never met. Once back in the States, Cole realizes that Griffon actually lives near her, and the two begin dating. It's at this point that Griffon reveals why they seem drawn to each other: they're both Akhet, meaning they can remember their previous lives, and work towards righting the wrongs and fixing the world. But one of Cole's previous lives is threatening her current one, and Cole must remember what happened in order to keep herself safe.
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 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.