Author: CJ Omololu
Genre: YA, paranormal, romance
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Summary: 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.
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a solid new YA debut with some very interesting mythology!
Review: As solid as this debut is, I was kind of let down. I think I overhyped this one in my own head, so when I read it, it didn’t quite come up to the standards I’d created off of the excellent blurb (which I really need to stop doing, truth be told). However, Omololu creates a fascinating new mythology based off of the bones of the old (and more obscure), and makes it easily accessible to readers – especially younger YA readers.
I wish I could have enjoyed this one more. I think the main problem lies with the fact that even though Omololu kills her darlings (so to speak), she doesn’t quite do it enough. When she does it, there are only a few Big Reveals, and in a first book in a series, it’s not quite enough for me to want to keep reading when everything is so underplayed. Omololu definitely held back, and I kind of wanted her to rip out all of the stops – especially when the past lives came so heavily into play as part of the plot.
Though it appears it’s insta-love between Cole and Griffon at first, Omololu cleverly uses the backdrop of their past lives to make it work. At first I wasn’t so sure it would fly, but it did, so I definitely have to give her props for that. I also have to give her major props for using mythology we haven’t seen worked to death within the YA sub-genres for the paranormal/supernatural, as I really enjoyed those parts of the book the most. But, again, I felt like she held back, and I’m hoping in the next book, she’ll be a little bolder and pull out a few more stops. The world could have been a little tighter, and the characters more developed/rounded, so it didn’t completely thrill me like I’d hoped it would.
Where Omololu excelled the most was her sensory language/imagery – especially in the flashbacks to Cole’s past lives. I felt like I was really there with her, and they enriched the story all the more. But I do feel like she could have used this a little more in the non-past-life scenes of the book, because a few felt more like telling than showing, but I can let that slide for now.
But this is just how I feel about it. “Transcendence” is out now from Bloomsbury Kids/Teen USA, so go and check it out! It’s definitely a fun summer read.