By: C.J. Omololu
Review by: Kylie Comfoltey
From Goodreads: 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?
Kylie's Review: Reincarnation. That's what Transcendence is about. The idea that one soul returns to Earth again and again in different times, places, bodies, and circumstances. Sometimes as a male, sometimes female. But not as bugs or animals; sorry, all you aspiring birds and tigers! No soup for you.
The story is written in the viewpoint of Cole Ryan, a 16-year-old cello prodigy who suddenly begins to experience strange memory-type flashbacks on a trip to the Tower of London over spring break. After fainting, Cole (Nicole, a girl) meets Griffon, a hunky, curly-haired heartthrob and feels a sudden connection to him. But you already know this from the synopsis above. And I'm sure you can guess the meet-cute is a seed for YA romance.
My favorite parts of this book were the flashbacks to Cole's past lives. I wanted more of them! Cole has the recurring habit of becoming a semi-prominent figure in society time and again, and I feel like I didn't get enough of those stories. They'd be over just when they were getting good. I loved the way the flashbacks showed up in the middle of a page. Suddenly the words would all be italicized, interrupting the flow of the story by switching to something and someone different. The way the flashbacks were written into the story helped to portray Cole's frustration at the unexpected interruptions these visions were to her, causing her to blackout and look like a crazy person.
I liked Cole. She is hard-working and skeptical. She's got bantering down, too, but I do wish someone would teach her the brilliance of caution and the art of keeping a secret. Griffon was great. Wise beyond his years...in this life. Oh, how witty of me!
The romance in the book is for an older teen audience. The relationship is sweet and fun, but there are plenty of passionate kisses and descriptions of Griffon's manly, intoxicating scent to consider. It reminded me a little of the romance in Twilight. Remember how Edward always smelled like blood and musk and flora? Maybe I'm confusing that with The Hunger Games' President Snow and his rose/blood breath. Anyway, Griffon smells like earthy masculinity. You can't miss it.
Cole's flashbacks become longer and more meaningful as she begins to learn about who she is and who she's been. I'm hoping there will be more of them, particularly regarding her London life, in the next book. And good news: after reading the preview for the next installment, that is exactly what's to come. Awesome.
Transcendence was a quick and interesting read. I really enjoyed it! The mystery in the book was predictable but great and fast-moving, and a few twists along the way made for an engaging ride. And who doesn't love some centuries-old revenge thrown into the mix? I really liked the characters and the relationships in the story, and you know I'm partial to the San Francisco setting!
Drugs/Alcohol: I remember beer at the beach. Fairly mild.
Violence: Mild. Beheadings are discussed, but not described in detail, and guns make an appearance. There is blood, but not descriptive gore.