Tandem by Anna Jarzab

15829686Tandem by Anna Jarzab
PublisherDelacorte Books for Young Readers
Length428 pages
Genera: Fantasy
Subjects: Parallel Universes, Monarchy, Romance
How I obtained the bookLibrary; hardcover

Rating: 

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.

Forget about black – Stockholm Syndrome is the new sexy. Well, at least according to Tandem and Ms. Sasha Lawson it is (though I’m sure a certain Gemma would agree).

Thomas, one of the love interests, not only kidnaps her but also lies to her about who he is and emotionally manipulates Sasha. Either he is so good at his job or Sasha is so exasperatingly illogical that she ends up being so conflicted about her feelings that she completely loses any sense of self preservation that she ever had.

“I rescued it,” he said. “It was the only thing I had from… us, in your world. I guess I didn’t want to let it go. I meant what I said to that night on the beach. It was the best night of my life, being with you; it was the one time I really felt like myself. Ironic, huh?” I nodded, pulling him in for a soft, lingering kiss.

“Thomas,” I whispered. “That’s very romantic, you know.”

No, that’s not romantic. He pretty much kept a memento of that night he tricked you into falling for him and following him to a beach where he then kidnapped you. There are no blurred lines here – just very, very defined ones.

While, the romance was certainly the worst part of the novel, the rest of the book was really good as far as most books dealing with parallel universes go. The world building was incredibly in-depth and very well done, and the plot was interesting.

The world building in Tandem was artfully executed – from the science behind parallels to the United Commonwealth itself. Science is probably the most ignored part of world building in fantasies and dystopias. We’re often given either no explanation and told to just accept it or we’re given a flimsy explanation based in faulty science. Tandem however addressed all my questions with a sensible explanation.

This, however, came with a price. Jarzab spent all of her energy building her world and as a consequence, not enough time on their characters. While the United Commonwealth of Columbia was fully fleshed out, there was a lot to be desired in the characters.

At times the characters were okay but more often than not, I felt little to no connection with any of the characters. Sasha was wholly unlikeable and at times I couldn’t stand her. She darted from incapable to overly and impossibly competent. It feels like she takes Juliana’s position way too quickly, and easily, to be realistic.

Thomas was irritating and clichéd – not to mention a huge dick. There was absolutely nothing new to his character. He was smart, incredibly handsome, and, of course, entirely unpleasant. He has the nerve to be surprised when Sasha doesn’t like him at first after he kidnaps her. What did he expect – Sasha to thank him for saving here and taking her away from her world? It doesn’t work like that.

Thomas works for the King’s Secret Service, at the age of 18 mind you. The only reason he got this job was because Daddy Dearest is the great and powerful General. Did someone say nepotism? He then at one point tries to tell himself, feebly, that the General did not display favoritism when it came to the ‘Academy’.

The other love interest, Callum, was the embodiment of the cute, cuddly love interest cliché but at least he was likable and quirky as opposed to Thomas who definitely wasn’t.

Before I end the review, I have one more thing to cover quickly. The tagline.

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Wrong. It’s explicitly stated that not everything repeats. Not every person Sasha knew was in the multiverse. For example, Juliana had totally different parents in the other universe and Sasha’s parents didn’t even exist.

Overall, Tandem has an enjoyable plot and world building. Was it a great read? No, but it was entertaining enough for me to finish it. I recommend it to people who can read through a book without paying too much attention to the weaknesses.

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