A few years ago a little Indie movie called “Another Earth” hit theaters. The story behind it (as stripped down as much as possible) was about a girl (who made a very grievous mistake years earlier) trying to redeem herself. This mistake (which had a lot to do with her total disregard for responsible alcohol consumption) sent her life into a downward spiral. Coincidently enough it was also connected to the discovery of…wait for it…another Earth. (Bam! Didn’t see that one coming did you?) As it turns out, this “Earth” is host to an entire population of humans that look (and presumably act) just like us. The only difference…they made other choices. In turn affording them different opportunities in life. (AKA: they took different paths. No binge drinking and slamming into stopped cars.)
The movie was, well, kinda meh. But the concept got me thinking.
What if there is another “me” somewhere? What would her life be like? What choices would she make? Would she be kind? Cruel? Lord forbid…would she be an anti-reader? *gasp* What about her life experiences? Have they helped her? Hindered her?
Honestly, my brain almost imploded and I had to shut down that entire train of thought. Lucky for me however, Anna Jarzab was kind enough to pose the exact same questions in her novel “Tandem.” Even better? She one upped my overactive brain by adding an astonishing science fiction plot, and a monarchy. Yeah…you read that correctly. A monarchy driven sci-fi novel with clones! I’ll give you a minute to digest that.
All BS aside, I loved this book. I loved it so much that I told the first 4 people who walked into the coffee shop (I am currently renting space in) to run right out and buy it. (No, they didn’t ask…I’m just a nosey quack and love to push my opinions off on people. Obviously.) This book isn’t going to morph into required reading ten years down the road, and the chances of it finding John Green status fame are slim to none (cause that’s almost impossible) But what it IS going to do is entertain the pants off of you. (Ew, wait…no! Put your pants back on!) It’s got science (ala Fringe.) It’s got bitter old men in positions of immense power. (Yeah, there are about a million references I could pop in here.) It’s got monarchies at war over land. (Anyone here watch Reign? Think England and France.) And to add a cherry on top…it’s got romance! Not insta-love (though the Prince is a little trigger happy) but drawn out push and pull, be prepared to swim around in oceans of angst romance. (You know…the fun kind.)
I never knew what was coming. I was genuinely surprised by some of the twists (which is pretty hard to come by these days.) And with a plot that could have spiraled into the great unknown (read: pages and pages of geekdom that even I can’t piece together) it maintained its readability.
The narration (for those of you that are curious) was companion. BUT…unlike most (and I say “most” very offhandedly) dual narration novels, the story wasn’t flipped chapter to chapter. Instead you got one full day of Sasha (which is actually quite a bit considering the entire plot arc takes place in 6 days) and then a few pages of Thomas. With so much from one side, and little from the other, the characters kept a firm grasp on their mystery.
Speaking of characters. They were impeccably executed. Each and every character was painted in a very clear way, and all of their actions, dialogue and mannerisms mimicked that. I never found myself bored by one character and rushing to read about another. I enjoyed all of them, for their deception, loyalty, love, and naivety. They may have been under some pretty extreme circumstance, but they still came across as every day people. Making characters feel real is a noteworthy accomplishment for any author.
Now, if you have managed to make it this far, I’m sure it fairly obvious where I stand. BUT, just in case… this one is a winner. A solid start to what I’m hoping is an equally successful series. Now lets all cross our fingers and hope that Ms. Jarzab doesn’t come down with a case of the sequel shivers.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.