Monday, September 30, 2013

Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) by Anna Jarzab [Review + Giveaway]

Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication.Date  October 8th 2013
Published By:  Delacorte Books For Young Readers
WebsiteAnna Jarzab 

Tandem on Goodreads
My review copy:Advanced review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Everything repeats.
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.

Science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but also that every action has an equal opposite reaction - all debts are eventually paid in full. I don't remember much from class but that particular idea stuck with me. Kata to chreon. Apparently, the universe won't let you get away with anything, at least not for long.
Grant Davis was, to put it bluntly, the finest human specimen that had ever come into existence.
The weight of him kept me from floating away, atom by atom, into the universe.
In the beginning, all I knew was darkness. Darkness, and silence. 

     Parallel universes, star-crossed lovers, drama, intrigue and treachery - these are just some of the things you'll find in Anna Jarzab's latest YA novel, Tandem. I really enjoyed reading Tandem. It's a well-written, captivating and very entertaining story that will appeal to fans of science fiction and fantasy alike. Personally, I think that even though the premise of it is strictly sci fi (travel between parallel realities), overall the book has a more fantasy (even fairytale) feel to it. At the same time, there's enough scientific trivia to keep all science geeks intrigued. Anna Jarzab managed to strike just the perfect balance between these two worlds - science and fantasy - and create something that is just as intellectually stimulating, as it is charming and visually pleasing

     It's not a very fast-paced book, and some readers will inevitably find it too slow for their taste. That doesn't mean that there is no action - trust me, Tandem has plenty of it to offer. It's just that - and that's not a bad thing at all - Anna Jarzab takes time setting the atmosphere, building the world, and weaving in backgrounds. And she does all those subtle things that result in an intricate, complex and completely mesmerizing world. You can't help but fall in love with it. 

     Both lead characters are interesting, their stories - engaging. I liked Thomas a lot, he made for a great love interest, and he was also a very good friend and bodyguard. Ambitious, dedicated, passionate, hard-working and reliable - he was always there for Sasha, ready to sacrifice his own life to protect her. 
There's this one passage describing/comparing Sasha and Juliana that I really love. 
"If people were houses, Juliana was like the Citadel she'd grown up in - beautiful and well-appointed, but guarded and set apart - while Sasha was her grandfather's Hyde Park Victorian - cheerful and bright, with the windows and doors flung wide open."
I think this is very spot-on. That's exactly how I perceived these two. Sasha, always curious and excited to learn new things, inviting adventures and welcoming challenges. She's a very positive person. Even as a little girl, she always dreamt of big adventures and experiences that would make her stronger and better as a person. Juliana, on the other hand, is very withdrawn and distant, distrustful and cold. A girl with a steel wall around her heart. These two, even though they're each other's analogs, are like night and day. 

     The only thing I could possibly complain about is the lack of insight into Juliana's character. I really wanted to learn more about her and try to understand the motivations behind her actions and decisions, but all we really know about her is that she was unhappy with her life and wanted freedom to make her own decisions, which eventually pushed her to do what she did. Inevitably, that made her come across as a bit spoiled and extremely self-centred - and maybe that was the idea - but I felt like there was more to her character than we got to discover. I hope we'll see her in the next book, and that we'll get to explore her psyche a bit more. 

     The ending was toe-curling. I won't lie, I was left dumb-founded. I couldn't believe what happened! Anna Jarzab finished the first novel in her Many-Worlds Trilogy with a huge bang, and I am now dying to read the next book!

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WHAT YOU CAN WIN: A finished copy of TANDEM by Anna Jarzab
OPEN TO: US addresses only
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