Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review : Tandem by Anna Jarzab

  • Release Date : October 8th 2013
  • Genre : Sci-Fi/AU
  • Pages : 448
  • Publisher : Delacorte Books For Young Readers 
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.

Sasha Lawson has been pulled across the universe and into Aurora, and alternate version of Earth where  the United States  is  divided by two monarchies. Sasha has been fetched  for one purpose, to take the place of  the missing Princess Juliana, her alternate self.

I'm new to the alternate universe novels so I liked how Tandem introduced the theory and ideas behind  parallel worlds, in a way that is approachable to the non-scientifically inclined.

Most of the fun comes from seeing how Sasha  adjusts to Aurora, and how a world that is so much like our own can be so different.  She has to learn the customs, culture and what it is like being a princess in the middle of a tense political situation.

Assisting Sasha in pulling off the impersonation is a team of people including a young KES (Kings' Elite Security ) Agent Thomas Mayhew. I  liked  the character of Thomas , he is  dealing with being a young agent who want to be taken seriously but is still a kid himself.

Another reason I suspect I may like Thomas is because his portions of the book are written in third person while Sasha's are in first person. I'm a big fan of third person so that may have biased me towards the sections from his point of view. I do wonder why Jarzab decided to switch the style of the narrations, as it was jarring to go from one to the other.

There is a bit of a love triangle going on, but it didn't fully come across to me. Overall,  I would have liked the novel to have created higher stakes for the characters. The novel does pick up a little at the end, but at that point there is way too much happening to make up for the slow start.

Overall, Tandem is a mellow, character based  science fiction novel that with a bit of intrigue and deception.

I do have one slight nitpick and that is that the book has a lot of great imagery between the flags and symbols of the two monarchies and the revolution in Aurora. I wonder why the cover does not reflect that ?

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