Author: C.J. Omololu
Series: Trancendence #1
Publisher: Walker Children's
Date Published: June 5, 2012
Genre: Paranormal (YA)
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.
What drew me to this book initially was the cover. Sometimes it's okay to judge books by them people! Especially because I have never really seen an interracial couple on a cover for YA. If there are any other ones, please point me into that direction because I'm pretty sure that interracial relationships are pretty underrepresented. So when I saw this cover on the stacks in the library I did a double take and was drawn in immediately. I don't know why there aren't more interracial couples that are popular...I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere that interracial relationships are up by like 60% or something in the united states and right now the only one I can think about is Simone Eckles Perfect Chemistry...
SO. The main characters in Transcendence were Cole, an apparently normal cello prodigy from San Fransisco and Griffon, a half British/half African-American who also lives in San Fran. The two have lived within miles from each other for their entire lives but never meet until a chance encounter in the Tower of London brings them together. Cute :) Then things get weird. Cole has been having hallucinations that she doesn't understand for a while now. Typically it's just a flash of a castle, or a smell that has no business being in modern day America, but those moments are nothing compared to the flashback she gets when she touches Griffon for the first time. She is thrown back to the days when the Tower was used for executions on the worst day possible...the date of her own beheading. When Cole comes to Griffon is there, with questions and answers that he couldn't possibly know. I wanted to love Cole and Griffon together, I really did. But I didn't feel any real connection to Cole, which made anything she might have felt for Griffon feel flat and boring to me. I also thought it was freaky that this man who remembers being married, having kids, etc would be interested in a 15 year old girl. Ew. It's okay if you've been together before I suppose, but apparently this is the first lifetime that Cole and Griffon got together so it had that "ick" factor that kept me from really wanting them to succeed as a couple.
I also have to admit that the plot took a while to interest me completely. I feel like I've read quite a few parts of this book before actually. All the flashbacks were pretty standard stuff if you read paranormal fiction or even historical fiction. I don't mean to say it was bad or anything, but there are SO many similar books that have moments like the ones that Cole goes back and experiences, particularly the Tower of London stuff. Some of her flashbacks were a lot more original and I really enjoyed those moments like being a boy in India or a famous cellist in 1850's California, I just wish that there were more of those moments and less of the typical ones that pop up over and over. But just when I was getting frustrated and considering DNF'ing, Cole and Griffon started talking about Akhet and Sekhem. These are ancient Egyptian terms that revolve around eternal life and reincarnation and added a whole new depth to the mythology and meaning of the story. I started to get pulled in right along with Cole and Griffon for a wild ride through their past lives together. At the same time, the mystery part of the book was kind of neglected. It just seemed like Cole was wandering around and letting things happen to her than having an actual action-driven plot. It would have been nice for there to be a little more shaping and...refining...of where the plot took us.
I think I might have a problem with reincarnation stories in general. I have so far reviewed about 5 of them (Elixir by Hilary Duff, The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller, and The Paranormals series by J.L. Bryan) and the only ones I could rate higher than a 3 were J.L. Bryan's because they don't focus solely on the reincarnation aspect. In fact, you don't find out about the reincarnation at all until the last chapter of the first book which is what allowed me to really love it. In Transcendence and the other book's cases, I always have little irritations that pop up over and over. For example, it drives me absolutely crazy when the heroine discovers that her "soul-mate" has done something in a past life that hurt one of her past lives, therefore she decides he has betrayed her and is now her enemy and she ends up screwing everything up and putting all she cares about in danger because of something her boyfriend did IN A PAST LIFE. Which she usually only gets a glimpse of for a few seconds in a flashback. It makes me want to take the heroine and shake her until she stops being such an idiot and just TALKS to the guy who has been there for her for the past several hundred years so that she doesn't get everyone killed.
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