ARC Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Series: Many-Worlds Trilogy
By: Anna Jarzab
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Science Fiction, Parallel Universe, Romance
Publication Date: Oct 8th 2013
Pages: 428 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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 really enjoyed reading Tandem by Anna Jarzab, the first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy. Like other books with a Parallel/Alternated Universe, it lets you suspend belief for a moment and imagine “What If” there was more than one version of Earth, the Universe, more than one version of me- of all the endless possibilities. With Tandem, we are taken on a journey along with Sasha as she literally tries to fill a princess’s shoes- one from an alternate universe on the brink of war.
Aurora, an Alternate World in Chaos. A young Princess in danger. Rebellion, Intrigue, and a Romance that crosses parallel universes.
THE SETTING AND SUMMARY
The story begins on Earth. Sixteen year old Sasha lives a normal, albeit quiet life with her grandfather in Chicago. She’s always been a good student and tries to make her grandfather proud, but something is missing and she longs for adventure and change. When Grant, her long-time crush, ask her to the prom she’s more than excited. Hopeful that something special and thrilling is finally happening to her. Sasha has no idea that the prom dance with Grant may be her last time ever on Earth. She is about to be taken across from one universe to another, across a veil between the worlds- known as the tandem, to Aurora, a world on the brink of war. She is forced to impersonate a alternate version of herself, a missing princess of Aurora and fight deadly intrigue. If successful, she will be sent back home. What she doesn’t expect is to have two young men vying for her attention, nor the scope of feelings she begins to have for them and Aurora.
One of the aspects of Tandem that I really enjoyed was its use of multiple narrators. The story is told from three the different perspectives. Sasha our heroine from Earth; Juliana the missing princess of Aurora; and Thomas, the secret security agent that abducts Sasha from Earth. I thought this was great way for the author to give us a deeper insight into the live of the characters, and how they are connected to each other. It also made clear that alternates can behave very differently from each other.
Sasha is smart and dedicated to school, but feels as if she is missing out on something and longs for adventure. Her sweet and cheerful nature, and her ability to be open and willing to take on a challenge make her appealing to both Prince Callum and Thomas. I liked Sasha's character, and admired her as she tries to overcome obstacles faced in Aurora. In the beginning she makes a few blunders, but by the end of the story she becomes a great heroine on many levels.
"-there was always a part of me, even before my parents died, that yearned to be plucked out of my everyday life and thrust into some great adventure."
Princess Juliana is the sort of person who keeps people at a distance. It’s obvious at the beginning of the story that she feels trapped into an arranged marriage, afraid for her life, and torn between her kingdom and her happiness. She’s had a difficult time in the story and it was easy for me to sympathize with her for the most part.
We get to see two sides of Thomas early on in the story. The author uses a creative twist to show us what Thomas longs for- to be free and a normal teenager, but due to his high rank on Aurora, how duty and responsibility changes all that. I loved his interactions with Sasha. He's hot, tough (kick-butt), and can be both sweet and shy with Sasha. He's also extremely protective over her.
Grant Davis (Thomas' alternate on Earth) plays a small role in Tandem, but through his character it becomes clear that he represents all that Thomas longs to be. Grant is easy going and carefree, his good nature draws everyone to him. Although they make look exactly alike, Grant's personality is the flip-side of Tomas. I'm actually hoping to see more of his character in the next book.
"Grant Davis was, to put it bluntly, the finest human specimen that had ever come into existence. I'd had a crush on him since I was in fourth grade and he was in fifth."
Prince Callum is for the most part very down-to-earth (pun intended) for a prince. He’s sweet, caring, and seems you really want to make things work with Princess Juliana (who is being impersonated by Sasha) and seems to be falling in love with her. Sasha is put in a terrible place not wanting to hurt him, and I felt a bit sad for them at times, even though it’s obvious that they care for each other.
There is a bit of a love triangle in Tandem, but it becomes pretty clear early on who Sasha is drawn to. I had to admit, I really like both the love interests in Tandem. It was easy to see how Sasha had certain qualities that both guys yearned for, and she brought out the better aspects of both Thomas and Callum. I loved the interactions between them, and there's definitely some swoon-worthy moments in the story.
"I can't go home yet. I refuse to let you send me back."
"For God's sake, Sasha,why?"
"Because," I said in a near-whisper. "I'm not ready to leave you."
Swoon Level: Crush
WHAT I LIKED
Okay, besides the unique parallel setting and swoonful romance, the geek-in-me had fun with all the scientific thoughts behind Tandem. Fibonacci Sequence, alternates, thresholds and veils, magic numbers.
WHAT I WOULD HAVE LIKED
There's actually two things I'm hoping to see more of in the next book- more information on the princess Juliana and more world building. Both are touched briefly upon in the book, and I'm curious to know much more about them. Even though Juliana is one of the narrators of the story, we don't know much about her after she is kidnapped. As far as Aurora, we get a brief look into how the land is broken up, and a very brief history of it.
RECOMMENDED FOR fans of science fiction, parallel worlds and romance. Tandem is a entertaining read, filled with just the right amount of science fiction, intrigue, and romance making this book a great start to a new trilogy with lots of possibilities.
MY RATING 4 Stars. I really liked it.
A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Delacorte Press for the review opportunity!