Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Title: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Publisher: Random House Australia
Release Date: 1st November 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 3 out of 5


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. Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing - and no one - is what it seems

Tandem is an interesting book. It’s not a bad book by any means but it’s not the best book as well. It’s a book that falls squarely in the middle of the scale.  Tandem is a book that has a fantastic premise encompassing parallel universes. It’s also well written and the world building is detailed and captivating.  But on the whole where Tandem falls short is its characters and the romance.

Tandem is about parallel universes where people who look exactly like you can lead totally different lives. Sasha Lawson is your typically high school student. One day she gets kidnapped and dragged into the parallel universe of Aurora because she is the exact copy of their Princess Julianna. Princess Julianna has gone missing and Sasha is forced to pretend to be her in order to save her life.

Tandem’s concept of the multiverse is fantastic. The world building is really well done. Right from the start the parallel universes and all the rules that go with them are very easy to understand.  The rules are not far fetched and like the plot are quite simple to follow. The universe of Aurora is similar to earth but different in its own way. I love all the historical and tiny details Anna Jarzab has woven into the universe to give it authenticity.  Jarzab ensures the plot keeps moving with well-timed twists and turns. There is also political drama, numerous secrets, and wavering loyalties.  It makes for an interesting read with various alliances forming and breaking.

The characters did not work for me. I just did not feel a connection to them and was apathetic towards them. Sasha is just an average girl and I enjoyed her at the beginning but then her feelings toward her situation kept constantly changing. In the beginning when Sasha is kidnapped into the tandem she fights back against her kidnappers and tries to find a way to escape but somewhere along the way Sasha tries to help the very people who bought her here and are using her. She wanted to protect people that she had no obligation towards. She also falls in love with the enemy. It felt Stockholm syndrome-y. Also the romance was a little instalovish.

Thomas is a solider. He is loyal towards the republic and there are times where he puts duty before all else and Sasha is a victim to his actions but she still ignores all the things he’s done and the lies he’s told her. I just couldn’t get behind how Sasha seemed to forget her goals to escape and go back to earth. Julianna also just came across as selfish and a bit uptight. I didn’t understand or like her actions.

Overall Tandem is an okay book. It has good world building and a great premise.

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