Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Traveler

Traveler by L. E. DeLano
Traveler #1
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Source: ALA Midwinter 2017
Date Read: 2/5/17 to 2/7/17
352 pages

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles—Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it…This Jessa is going to live.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Ever read one of those books where you know you’re not going to get a whole lot from it, but it was still a fun read anyways? This (and a bunch others I read this month) was one of them. Usually if a book featured some sort of time traveling or parallel universes, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it unless everything made sense. This didn’t end up being the case with Traveler. Not that that meant everything made perfect sense (Spoiler: it didn’t), but it just didn’t bother me as much.

The synopsis of Traveler is quite intriguing, hence why I picked this up. And though it’s nothing like one of my favorite video games, Bioshock Infinite, it definitely reminded me of it. For starters, there’s this whole multiverse thing going on, in which our main character Jessa can travel and embody her “other” selves in other, parallel worlds. In each of these worlds, society, along with Jessa, are a bit different. In one world she’s an amazing dancer, while in another her parents aren’t divorced. It’s all based on constants and variables really.

Excuse me as I flail over Bioshock Infinite, again. BUT CONSTANTS AND VARIABLES

And on top of that, we find out that someone is tracking down all the Jessas, and killing them. Finn, who is literally Jessa’s soulmate as they are together in almost every world, is determined to put a stop to it, with the help of their Dreamers (or more specifically “guides in the dream world”). This is one aspect of the story that just didn’t make much sense to me at all. Let me break it down.

Dreamers basically guide Travelers on their missions. Remember how there’s probably an infinite number of Jessas? Well it was never really explained whether each Jessa had their own Dreamer, or if they all had the same one. Or maybe they all had different versions of the same one? See how it gets confusing? Well anyways, these Dreamers basically give Travelers “quests” that change the trajectory of other worlds. For example, a quest may involve recommending an amazing book to someone, which later will lead them to come up with the cure for cancer. Apparently Dreamers can predict these kinds of things. The weird thing though, is that Travelers have to travel to another self in order to complete these quests. But why? Why not just have that specific individual (that specific Jessa, for example) recommend the book herself? Why use another Jessa from another world? Well, the reasoning behind it is apparently emotional ties. Because I would definitely feel real emotional recommending a book to some rando. Okay.

Second, it seemed like the main Jessa we are reading about is the only one traveling to other Jessas. Why is it just her traveling? Why is no one else asking her for permission to enter her body? Maybe this just isn’t featured in the book? I will never know.

I know what you’re thinking. Maybe this book bothered me more than what I’ve let on. Well, yes, some parts did bother me a bit, but overall I really enjoyed the idea of it all. Though I don’t think I buy the whole “Every Finn and every Jessa are the same person”, because I don’t think they are. But in the end, I’m still looking forward to continuing on with the series. Hopefully it’ll my questions will be answer, and the second will be even better than the first!
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