Monday, November 11, 2013

New Series: The Naturals, Pawn and Tandem

It's always fun to find a new series which promises lots of future reading pleasure.  This month I have three to recommend.  The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a psychological thriller that launches a group of teens who have special abilities that are useful in solving crimes. Pawn by Aimee Carter is a new dystopian series which focuses on a rebellion against a rigid class system. Tandem by Anna Jarzab is a sci-fi/fantasy about parallel universes where everyone has doubles who look identical but have very different personalities.

The Naturals introduces Cassie, who is gifted at reading people.  She doesn’t think much about this gift until the FBI recruits her for a group of crime solving teens with exceptional abilities.  Cassie agrees to participate, secretly hoping the group will help her find the killer who brutally murdered her mother five years earlier.  As she gets to know her fellow her fellow crime solvers, Cassie finds herself attracted to both Michael, who has a knack for reading emotions, and Dean, who shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but avoids entanglements. However, there is little time for romance, because a serial killer is on the loose and seems to have his sights set on Cassie.

Pawn, the first book in The Blackcoat Rebellion series, sets up a dystopian world where people are assigned to a social class when they turn eighteen and are labeled with a tattoo on the back of their necks.  Kitty Doe is disappointed to be designated a III which will relegate her to a janitorial crew in far-off Denver. Benjy, her childhood love, is sure to be a V or VI and they will be separated for life.  Then she is abducted and when she regains consciousness, she finds she has been “masked” and is now a VII who will be trained to pass for the missing Princess Lila. Lila’s mother Celia is seeking revenge against those she deems responsible for her daughter’s death and hopes to use Kitty as a pawn in her plans. Kitty has only one goal – getting back to Benjy by any means possible.  Captive, the sequel, follows in 2014.

Similarly, Tandem, the first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, introduces sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson who thinks that parallel worlds are a fantasy created by her grandfather, until she is transported to Aurora, another world where she takes the place of the missing Princess Juliana for whom she is an analog. "An analog is a type of double. We all have them; if not in one universe, then in another and in an infinite number of others besides. Analogs should not touch or one of them is ejected from the universe they both stood in. They are essentially equal, but not identical". The tandem is a force field through which analogs move between universes. As the story opens, Sasha thinks she is going to the prom with Grant, on whom she's had a crush since childhood.  However, Grant is actually Thomas, his analog from Aurora who has been sent to abduct her, so she can pose as Princess Juliana.  If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone until the princess is found, she can return home.  If not, she’ll be trapped forever. Although Sasha wants to return home, she finds herself falling for Thomas and compelled to help resolve the conflict on Aurora.  The sequel called Tether comes out in the summer of 2014