Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzeb

Photo by Alexandra Fletcher

       I love reading books with adventures in universal travels, such as traveling between parallel universes.  That is exactly what this book is about!  Tandem is a great read for anyone who enjoys action and a wee bit of romance.  It is a story filled with political power and manipulation, secrets, and caution.  Who can you really trust?

The Story Line:
       The princess of Aurora has been kidnapped!  Sasha is taken from her world to temporarily replace the princess in order to keep the peace they seek with their enemy.  If she refuses, she will not be able to get home and will be kept in Aurora by the General, a man who has his own agenda.  Sasha just wants to go home, so she enters Princess Juliana's life with facts but no real sense of who she is.  Thomas deceived her in order to get her to Aurora but he is the only person she can look to for help along the way as she plays the part.  Sasha discovers that people will do anything to get what they want, no matter how it effects others.  People hide things deep within themselves, even from those they care for most.
       It is easy to follow along with the story line, especially when they are describing the technicalities of how to travel between the parallel worlds (which doesn't happen too often in books with scientific explanations).  Things happen a little slow in the beginning but quickly speed up once Sasha is taking to a parallel universe.The words flow well together and there are a few in each chapter that I had to look up and add to my mental dictionary.  I love that!  The book never gets boring and has plenty of happenings to keep you wanting more.  It ended with a lot of questions but not in a bad way.  As Stephen King once said, 'Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.'  I am doing my very best to wait patiently for the second book.

The Characters:
       Though I loved the story line of the book, I thought the characters could use a lot more depth:
       Sasha is your average teenage girl with high school crushes and lives a fairly normal life.  At first glance, she seems a little silly and too trusting but once she is kidnapped, her instincts kick in and she runs the first chance she gets.  Some reviewers say she is too trusting and forgiving of Thomas, but HELLOOOO?! She is in a strange land- no, world- and doesn't know anyone!  Of course she's going to be a bit emotional and out of her element, put yourself in her shoes.  Thomas is the only face she recognizes and is comforted by the thought of him being there.  She is sweet and caring, even about the people in a world where she doesn't belong: she plays the part of Princess Juliana not only to get home but to spare the innocent lives of the people of Aurora, attempting to prevent a war between Aurora and their enemy, Farnham.
       One of my favorite parts was when she receives a gift from the prince of Farnham... a potato.  I know, right? That's exactly what Sasha thinks.  She says she's had a potato before and her step-mother, the queen, says, "When have you ever eaten a potato, Juliana?" Haha, forgetting that she's playing the part of the princess, she doesn't realize potatoes only grow in Farnham and Aurora is in trade with them currently, due to the impending war.  Sasha tries to cover her mistake and replies, "I-I'm sure I have." Ha! Potatoes.
       Thomas is an analog (copy of but not the same) of a boy on earth named Grant.  They look the same but are from different universes.  Sasha thought Thomas was Grant when she met him and that's how he deceived her in order to kidnap her and bring her to Aurora.  He is a young man used to following orders.  He is extremely loyal and hardworking.  But he is a bit loyal a fault, expecting the best in others, and putting up walls to things he doesn't want to know are true.  He is very likeable, though.  He is protective of Sasha and wants to see her home safely, even if that means never seeing her again.

       I'd recommend this book to anyone 12+ years, boy or girl.  I sincerely hope you enjoy the book!  If not, don't dis on it.  Simply read the next book on your list and move on.  There are plenty of other books in the sea. ;o)

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