Author: Anna Jarzab
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Series: Many-Worlds Trilogy, book #1
Length: 10 hrs 58 mins
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Source: audio & ARC received from publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.
To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.
The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.
I'm a big fan of the multiverse trend we've seen in YA over the last couple of years, but I'm wary of picking up every one I find, simply because I don't want this genre to follow in the footsteps of all of the influx of dystopian books that failed to impress. So, I'm being a little picky with my multiverse fare. I don't read every one of them and I only read the ones that really get me excited, and so far, this has served me well.
Tandem is a refreshing take on parallel worlds, with some universes cognizant of the existence of other worlds while others are seemingly unaware, though probably closer to the discovery than they let on or even know. The explanation provided to Sasha regarding how each universe came to be different, the idea of a Last Common Event connecting the different worlds, was rather skillfully handled. Though I've read several novels with a focus on multiverses, the author put a creative spin on this story that I think will captivate many readers.
Be forewarned: that last line of the novel's summary is pretty accurate. There's an overwhelming amount of betrayal in this book, and it was riveting to discover each character's motivations. It was never difficult to discern who was playing for Team Bad Guys, but I don't think it was to the detriment of the novel that some of the storyline was a bit predictable. Where some aspects were obvious, there were others that never even crossed my mind, and I'm anxious to see how those story arcs play out.
I'm a little iffy on the swoonage, though. It started off sweet enough, but it took a major nose-dive when Sasha was kidnapped and forced to pretend to be someone she wasn't. I like Thomas, and while Sasha can be a bit whiney, I saw that she could also be good and honorable. But a relationship begun on a lie? Iffy. The lie -- er, well, one of them -- was revealed in due time and smacked of betrayal on every level, but apparently having the doppelgänger of your girlish crush plead his case can make a girl do crazy things, all in the name of love. Their relationship grew on me the more time they spent together and worked to figure out what was really going on in Aurora, but adding in that third party brought back the iffiness. I understand his importance and the fact that it's because of him that Sasha even had to be brought to Aurora, but that doesn't mean I have to like the lies and betrayal that come with it.
One thing I will say about this book is that it started off really strongly. I think that's the key with stories involving parallel universes...the author kind of just has to throw the reader right into the story and let them figure everything out along with the characters. However, as I was developing my own theories, the plot stalled a bit midway -- not ground to a halt or anything; it was still good, just not as gripping as the beginning. The author obviously has a talent for weaving a story, especially one where multiple worlds are involved, and though I've not read her other works, I can definitely see the allure. Because that ending...yeah, it's probably going to frustrate some people, but it was great for paving the way for the rest of the trilogy.
Science fiction stories such as this always leave me pondering the possibility, nay probability, of such ideas. If man can think it up, who's to say it isn't real? I hope it's real, anyway. I rather like the idea that I have a copy in some parallel universe who might be the exact opposite of me in every way but appearance. Maybe we'll really discover the existence of a multiverse, and I'll meet her some day. =)
About the author:
Anna Jarzab is the author of All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the upcoming Tandem, the first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy. She lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing.
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