November 27, 2014

Book Review ~Transparent by Natalie Whipple

I was looking for something fun to read, and I stumbled upon a YA Urban Fantasy called Transparent by Natalie Whipple. Short synopsis, invisible girl is forced to work for her father's crime syndicate and then she goes on the run. While that's the plot, most of the interest is in the characters and their relationships, and as we all know, character-driven stories are where my heart beats.

Very striking cover
The main character, Fiona McClean, was born invisible. Seems crazy, but in this world, a drug everyone took to protect them from radiation caused mutations throughout the population. So, nearly everyone has something weird about them--bizarre eye colors, physical mutations, lesser powers, super strength, flight, etc. The powers run the gamut but Fiona is unique. She's the only one with her gift, which she'd call a curse.

What struck me about this book was Fiona's character and how she deals with her predicament. She has a very interesting voice, and a few moments in the book really struck out as an imaginative response to living in her world, her situation, and with the people she knows. The cast of other characters are pretty well rounded too, and they feel real with realistic reactions to what happens around them. (Sorry for being vague, but I'm trying to be spoiler-free).

Unlike most books about super powers, mutants, or super-heroes, Transparent deals with the powers thing like it's just another part of life. "Yeah, that dude over there has super strength, so he's on the track team for the gifted guys." (not a quote, just to give an idea) And it's kind of refreshing not to have everyone with powers be expected to BE a hero, or use their powers for something. In this world, the country is controlled by crime syndicates and people with gifts are usually used by them. So, people tend to hide their strengths instead, but not for X-men mutant-race-relations kind of reasons.

Great imagination, compelling voice, and interesting characters. Transparent is a fun light read. While there's a bit of telling, that's usually a greater problem in first person present tense works. Overall, I enjoyed the book and it was a nice quick read. If you want something fun to just fly through, I definitely recommend.

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