Ratings: 5/5 stars ★★★★★
Parallel universes? That is so Fringe.
I am a huge fan of science fiction–fringe science–in particular, which covers everything from teleportation to reanimation to mind reading to…yep, you guessed it…parallel universes. It’s a concept I am very familiar with, and I also know the main theory behind it so of course, when I heard of Anna Jarzab’s Tandem, I instantly wanted to read it.
I dove into this book with mixed feelings and by the time I was done with the first 3/4 chapters I was pretty impressed. Tandem, the first book in Jarzab’s Many-Worlds trilogy, is a must-read for anyone who is a fan of YA, sci-fi and romance.
The Writing: although the first chapter of the book is quite slow, it instantly picks up in the second chapter, and the events develop quite quickly for a 7 days timeline. Needless to say, I didn’t feel bored while reading this book.
Anna Jarzab’s writing voice is different than most YA writers. Perhaps its because her protagonist isn’t your typical, insecure, sarcastic or whiny YA heroine, but there’s a subtle confidence in her voice, in the way Sasha (the aforementioned protagonist) narrates the story. It’s subtle, but it is there, and it is really refreshing. She does not use beautiful poetic proses, but her writing skills are evident in the way she uses the most used clichés and turns them into something that definitely does not read like clichés. That, in my opinion, is good writing.
Because it is science fiction, I have to talk about the explanation behind the multiverses, and it is faultless. At the same time, it is also explained in simplistic manner so even if you are not very science-savvy there shouldn’t be any problems understanding the logic behind the multiverses. The world building is powerful, and the overall writing is convincing enough to make me contemplate then idea of an alternate version of me somewhere out there.
The Characters: Finally, finally I find a character who is neither insecure and whiny like Bella Swan nor overconfident and snarky like Rose Hathaway! Thank you Anna Jarzab!
Sasha reminds me more of Sydney Sage from The Bloodlines series–smart, sure, and strong. Unlike Sydney however, Sasha does not grow into a powerful, awe-inspiring character–rather, her adventures in the alternate universe reveals to the reader that she has been all of those things all along.
Oh, girl you don’t need to envy them–you’ve done it too.
I honestly can’t wait to see her character arc continue into the sequeal.
The other MC–Thomas Mayhew–is an absolute YA crush: intelligent, badass, and protective with a soft sweet center to balance out his tough-guy exterior. Needless to say, together he and Sasha makes an amazing team! Totally shipping them!
Unfortunately, with the exception of Prince Callum, none of the other characters stood out in particular. I particularly had a hard time connecting to Juliana; even though I couldn’t help but sympathize with her, throughout the entire book all she did was wallow in self-pity. It made me love Sasha even more.
Huh. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why Jarzab made her so annoying–to make the contrast between Juliana and Sasha’s personalities clearer.
The Plot: Okay so I had watched the entire 5 seasons of Fringe so I should’ve seen it coming…but I got distracted in excitement with all tbe action and completely missed the bigger picture. This is my third re-read of the book and I still couldn’t find any loopholes. The plot is airtight. Its not perfect–there were two things in particular that may have been better if they were changed (the timeline and Thomas’s age)–but overall Tandem has one of the most interesting plot that will definitely leave you wanting more.
Now please just give me Tether!