Allison's Book Bag

Transcendent Published by Robot Playground

Posted on: March 18, 2012

In the deluge of young adult paranormal about supernatural beings such as vampires and werewolves and more recently witches and angels, ghosts seem be a forgotten commodity. Transcendent, an anthology of eight stories by mostly new authors, helps fill in that gap. Included in its round-up are also stories which feature death, shape-shifters, and sirens.

Let’s start with one of the exceptions to ghost tales. My absolute favorite story is Seduction of a Siren by Lanie Woodland and Melanie Piper. Despite the abundance of middle grade fiction available about mythological creatures, one also doesn’t see all that many tales about sirens—temptresses who lures sailors with their voices to shipwreck on their island. This particular entry is a delicious blend of the romantic and the horrific. Seduction of a Siren opens with a kiss. Very quickly, Jason’s illusion of being seduced by a beautiful kisser are dashed by the introduction of “a grotesque and distorted monster, fit for nothing but a nightmare”. Or is that image also an illusion? Lanie Woodland is an established author with three novels in her repertoire. I look forward to checking them out!

As for the ghost tales, I enjoyed the sweet romance called The Pumpkin Thief. If you’re familiar with horror movies, you won’t find it new that the main female character feels nervous about walking alone to her friend’s party, because some guy had followed her home, whistling and making vulgar comments. You also won’t feel surprised to see Kira make her way to a quiet corner at her friend’s party, where she tires of seeing couples making out all around and so slips out for a walk.  Yet despite these familiar elements, Joseph does a nice job of creating a creepy atmosphere partly through his writing style and partly by throwing in a new element: When Kira goes to fetch a pumpkin that she’d carved for a contest, all that’s left is a blown out candle stub. As for the romance, it’s handled in such a humorous way that I forgave Joseph for not surprising me with its ending.

One of the darker ghost stories is Ryan’s Wish. Even before Ryan had become Irelan’s official boyfriend, he had been her everything. Two years earlier, he had ridden off on his dirt bike into the woods near her home and never returned. When the story opens, Irelan is celebrating her birthday, but also still chasing after every guy who looks or acts like Ryan. Then on her birthday, Irelan is surprised not only with a party but by the reappearance of Ryan. Problem is, Ryan is acting and looking odd.

I won’t tell reveal anything more, except to note that by this point in the anthology I’d started to tire of a few clichés in teen stories: loud parties, outcast loners, and hunky guys. Is there anyone besides me who didn’t attend keggers as a teen? Or is there anyone besides me who appreciated reading books about well-adjusted adolescents because they could show one how to live? And, on the flip side, what exactly is wrong with awkward first kisses, sweaty palms, pimply faces, and stammering dates?

Of the stories that I didn’t highlight but would recommend: Feather is about a Native American who tries to flee her heritage, Shadows of Promise is about unsolved murder, and Kiss of Death is about a stalker. Overall, not only does Transcendent offer plenty of quality alternatives to vampires and werewolves, but it also features promising authors whose future works would be worth checking out.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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2 Responses to "Transcendent Published by Robot Playground"

Thank you for the wonderful review! You did such a great job of summing up each story, and what you said about each one is exactly what I enjoyed about those stories too.

You’re welcome! I look forward to reading upcoming novels by some of the featured authors. 🙂

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