TANDEM (MANY WORLDS #1) - ANNA JARZAB
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, 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 and two lives.
Sasha, a girl who’d lived a relatively sheltered life with her grandfather since the death of her parents when she was young, gets thrust into an entirely new world on prom night, swept away from her home by the boy of her dreams, only not. In a more developed America, rebellion stirs, wanting an end to the autocratic rule in favour of a republic. In an attempt to ease tensions, an arranged marriage was set up between Princess Juliana, a girl like Sasha in every physical way, and Callum, the future ruler of the rival nation. But Juliana has vanished and Sasha is forced to take her place, unable to return home until the real princess is found and the future of the monarchy is ensured.
I was slightly hesitant when I first got this book; it came from a book subscription that had previously given me a novel that I really didn’t enjoy and I was fearful that this book would be the same. Fortunately, I had no reason to fear. This novel had me intrigued from the beginning. The concept of parallel universes is not foreign to me and, even if it was, Jarzab managed to describe something so complex with such detail and in such a simple way that I was able to fully understand the notion set before me. She also presented something new (or at least something I’d never heard of before) - the idea of analogs, identical people with different influences and lives. This is what really drew me in, two identical people living different lives.
I am not entirely sure how I felt about Sasha, at first she annoyed me a little, abandoning all logic, resorting to completely reckless behaviour and constantly complaining about everything. I’m sure that being kidnapped isn’t a great experience but I don’t understand why her common sense just went flying out the window. I did, however, like the way her character developed throughout the novel, growing in courage, taking charge and proving that she is stronger than she seems. A discreet high-flier who longs for an adventure filled life.
There are hints of a love triangle in this book but I’m not sure if you can call it a love triangle considering she only has eyes for one man. Thomas is kinda perfect; mature and sensible with a kind nature. Being a high ranking military recruit, and Juliana’s body guard, the romance between Tom and Sasha has almost a bit of a Chasing Liberty, First Daughter, kind of feel to it. A genuinely nice guy, it is easy to overlook his initial manipulation in favour of his honesty and compassion that comes out a bit more towards the end.
While this book may have flown under the radar for the last few years, at least in my circles, Jarzab has created a masterpiece that seriously deserves some spotlight. She has created a world that I want to explore and characters I want to get to understand. I didn’t want to put it down and now I am dying to get my hands on the sequel.