Transition (Anathema Book 1) Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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On opening the book the first thing you will be greeted with is a table of contents that quickly informs you that there will be multiple points of view, three to be exact, with a couple of interludes. Telling a story from just three prospectives can be hard, since an author has to come up with three times the voicing, but Transitions does this very well. The other big hurdle to this is that relatability in a character may have to be multiplied by three as well. For the most part the first two characters had similar struggles but very different lives and it seemed to work.
To truly decide if you could relate to the characters, I’ll have to tell you a little more of whom they are, which will be minor spoilers. Basically the first two share a difficult past, with one having an over bearing older sibling and some past trauma and the other having been a part of a foster care system. For me it was difficult to get into the heads of people who were supposed to be so damaged and yet demonstrated it in the ways they did. A lot of time, way too much in my view, was spent on romance and this sometimes boarded on the absurd in terms of situations. In the end I’m not sure if I was reading entirely the character’s prospective or a subconscious view the author had of the world.
This book really dwells on romance and het-norm interactions. Every main character either has an SO or opposite member courting potential SO and they will be the main person they spend any time interaction with or thinking about no matter what the circumstances are. Likening back to the mention of tragedy, this is what the MC thinks about instead of the tragedy and while the book has her occasionally deliberately comment on not thinking about it, the fact that it dwells instead on romance I found to be very disappointing. Like we’re supposed to forget the tragedy or it’s supposed to add flavor to the will they or won’t they nonsense. It’s pure applesauce and it bleeds into more parts of the book than that.
There are three flavors of characters in this book, the potential SO, whom will be the only introduced courting aged opposite gender person, rivals, who encompasses every same sex character who can’t be shoved into the sisterly or motherly category and finally extras. The SO’s will be thought of or talked to more than every other character in the story combined. Next the rivals will either get catty with the main or the main will somehow dislike them, the mains meanwhile have zero meaningful friendships with same sex people. In fact they have zero meaningful friendships period. You’re either an SO or you don’t exist. The book tries to pretend this isn’t the case, but it’s merely lip service. These characters exist to occasionally drift into the action and the main might toss a sentence their way like a bone, but little to no time is spent actually interacting, or trying to interact with these people or thinking about them. This part I couldn’t help but think was the author’s world view leaking in, possibly even against her own knowledge, but I found it distressing and distracting.
Though it may sound like I’ve spent a lot of time tearing down the story, there is actually some very good parts that I have yet to touch on. Before I mentioned how the genre is very full, and it is, but this story takes it in a very fresh direction. Were as typical super hero stories are all about the super powers and making you feel powerful, this one is not. While everyone has powers, they manage to never feel powerful and instead appear quite helpless. I know this sounds strange, but it was amazing to see because it brought on a duality I’d never thought of before. Even the established hero later on in the story is going to have struggles equal to or greater than his powers which almost nullifies their effect. To take super humans and then bring them down to a human level certainly is a new way to explore super heros. Sure superman did it once in the movie where he becomes human again for Lois. . (a, spoiler) but that contrast wasn’t showing him with powers struggling to over come things. This is certainly different and new.
So while Transitions does some things right, it also does some things wrong and if you’re like me you might find the wrong parts too distracting to fully appreciate the good. I found the book ultimately okay, but not really planning to pick up book two. I hope this review helped you make up your own mind, if you’d like to leave a comment I’m happy to respond.
O. Rising (I'll refer to her as O after this) brings the reader right into the story from the start. There are a few different main characters, each with his or her perspective of the central plot. It's post-apoc fantasy about a cataclysm that resulted in people discovering magic powers within themselves. Translocation, empathic healing, necromancy, a touch of psionics, chaotic energy harnessing, etc. etc.
A government faction controls these mages, except for the rogues who they seek to either absorb into the fold, or destroy. Some mages can't learn control over their abilities, and some will surge wildly and create new cataclysms (such as monsoons that kill millions). The government kills those that surge - only to discover that new ones are springing up. The book's characters are all involved in one aspect of this or many aspects, some being Heroes and some being Rogues, some having grown up with their power since they were barely toddlers, and others manifesting their power into adulthood.
O weaves the backgrounds of each character seamlessly into the story, so we learn who's who without having to turn back a page to figure out what we missed (a pet peeve of mine in some novels written by seasoned writers). The word "weave" is appropriate here, for O truly does this from start to finish. Unfortunately, the copy-editing left several snippets of words and phrases, you could see where O changed a few sentences but left the edited words on the page. I noticed only three actual typos though, something word-checkers would mark as "spelled correctly" but grammar-checkers should have redlined.
By the time I got to the end of the book I was eager to see how it all turned out. I really hope O completes part two soon, because part one ends at a somewhat awkward cliffhanger.
I recommend Transition to anyone interested in post-apoc human-based Earth-based magical phenomena.