TRANSCENDER

FIRST-TIMER: TRANSCENDER TRILOGY BOOK 1

A modern-day Connecticut teenager suddenly shifts dimensions into an alternative America where she finds herself in the body of a love-struck princess in a danger-prone kingdom of intrigues, outlaws and strange creatures.

Jade Beckett is a 17-year-old Connecticut girl still recovering emotionally from the recent cancer death of her mom when a freak storm whisks her into a parallel existence. Jade is an unknowing “transcender,” a person with an innate ability to shift between timelines in presumably infinite alternate realities. Now she’s “Princess Jaden,” imperiled royalty in a strange counterpart of Earth that was devastated by a comet collision hundreds of years ago. Humanity’s tenuous survival has turned civilization into a semifeudal, semitechnological world of quibbling domed city-states. Jaden is immediately embroiled in intrigues between the assorted monarchies as well as delirious, virginity-threatening romance with her true soul mate, Ryder, a hunky half-Cherokee chief-in-training from an apparently enemy nation. Along with this comes the side benefit/curse that Jaden’s mother is alive in this universe, but she’s an imperious queen who treats Ryder the way the Sheriff of Nottingham regarded Robin Hood. Furthermore a mysterious “agent” from a largely unseen transdimensional regulation group keeps reminding Jade(n) that her presence here is a cosmic fluke and that she will have to put aside Ryder and her mom and return home once the agency patches things up. It all ends in a cliffhanger that should keep involved readers salivating for the next installment. Savage is a skilled storyteller (if a little heavy on the pacing and dialogue side), and she knows her stuff well enough to effectively tease the demographic with a subtle Twilight inside-joke. It’s a good move that the Savage fantasy world depicted is no Disney-storybook landscape of unicorns, faeries and mermaids (though elflike mutants and other crypto-creatures make somewhat puzzling cameos). Jade is a likable, media-savvy heroine, even granted that her tae kwon do powers tend to wax and wane as a given situation or abduction demands. There are a plethora of walk-on side characters (oftentimes curvy, gorgeous, potential-rival teen-queens) whose full roles in the drama presumably unfold in upcoming Transcender books, and fans who follow this story to its climax will welcome those installments. While a little slow and formulaic in fits, this girl-power jaunt into high adventure and romance in a parallel universe launches a promising new trilogy in YA fantasy.

 

Pub Date: July 21, 2011

ISBN: B005DR94EI

Page Count: 449

Publisher: Vicky Savage

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more