Monday, April 1, 2013

Transcend by Christine Fonseca Review:

Goodreads Book Blurb:
All seventeen-year-old composer Ien Montgomery desires is an escape from his family's rigid expectations for his life; someone to inspire his music. When he meets a beautiful violin-prodigy, Kiera McDougal, his life music takes on new life. With her, he imagines a future outside of his parents’ control. That is, until a horrible accident tears them apart. 

Sent to die in a sanatorium, Ien’s obsession for Kiera grows unbearable. Tortured by thoughts he can’t escape and the truth of his monstrous disfigurement, he flees, desperate to exact revenge on the people that ruined his life – his parents. But, vengeance is empty. Betrayed by those closest to him, Ien discovers that the price for his happiness may be his sanity.

Set amidst the landscape of New York's Gilded Age, and inspired by Phantom of the Opera, TRANSCEND exposes the fine line between love and madness.

Genre - YA/Historical Romance/Drama

NOTE: I read this as a R2R with We ♥ YA Books at Goodreads! As always, a special thank you to the mods and author for allowing me to participate.

5 Disturbing, Head Tripping Stars! 
Gaston Leroux meets Shakespeare! 
BRAVO! A Definite Masterpiece!

The Review:
Eyes wide, heart pounding and mind boggled. I’m in complete awe of this book!

My Thoughts…
I sit here stunned and silenced. After having finished the last page and my mind whirling around the words I’ve just read, I can’t help but wonder what to put in this review. Normally after I’ve read a book, I’ve got words, sentences and feelings circulating, pulling me to my keyboard, until I purge those feelings into a review for the world to read. But this time… I’m at a complete loss. How do you accurately express feelings as troubling, as exhilarating and as deep as the ones I’m feeling now?

But I’m going to try.

I loved this book for the simple pleasure of reading it. Beautifully told, the authors poetic writing combined with stark and vivid imagery make this read an eerie tale of obsession, chaos and mind shifting phantasmagoria. The story flowed, shifted, catapulted and entranced, captivating me with its harrowing journey of one man’s quick descent into insanity.

Ien is a seventeen year old prodigy pianist in the 19th century. He comes from an affluent family who has business aspirations for young Ien but he’s trying to find his own way of life without suffocating in the restricted world his mother wants him to flourish. Leading the life his mother has mapped out for him, from taking over the family business to trying to fill the shoes of a deceased older brother, Ien’s life isn’t his own. However agreeable he might seem, his mother has put one too many restrictions on him, declaring the girl he’s fallen in love with to be unsuitable. Ien decides, against the advice of his best friend James, to fight for his forbidden love. In an act of rebelliousness, love and desperation to exhibit his independence, he proposes to the beautiful and talented violinist, Keira.

Happy and looking forward to a fulfilling future, Ien sets out on a night stroll only to find himself fall victim to a horrific accident. Waking up in a pain so profoundly searing, it literally obliterates his mind, Ien suffers every moment he’s lucid. After months of medicine, prayer and even an attempt at new age medicine, his mother finally accepts his unhealing deformities and ships him off to a sanitarium where she tells the nuns to either heal him or kill him.

Through the red haze of anguish, as the fire from the sleep inducing drugs course through his body, escalating the unspeakable pain he’s already in, Ien has to discern reality from illusion, while also battling his own mind, the injuries he’s endured and a past trauma that still haunts him.

One of the things I loved most about this book is you never have a definite answer to when reality is taking place versus Ien’s troubled mind. Are the people and conversations he’s experiencing real, or are they a part of the drugs or something more sinister, such as a fractured mind. Is the plot his mother is fabricating for his death real? Are ghosts from his past haunting him? Are his best friend and the love of his life moving on with their own lives while he suffers in isolation? The reader is kept guessing as we watch Ien’s life and mind spiral out of control.

I also loved the nod this book gives to the Phantom of the Opera, which happens to be a favorite of mine, while weaving music, delusion, realism, insanity and mania all into one story. I also can’t help but think of poor, hallucinating Hamlet and his declining psyche throughout Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” while reading this. So basically, if Erik and Hamlet had a love child, his name would be Ien. ;P

The Wrap Up:
This book was amazing. It kept me guessing at every turn. The characters were riveting, the setting extraordinary and the writing was perfection! Transcend is a thrilling story that will haunt me and stay with me for a long time to come. A definite re-read! Christina Fonseca has a new fan!!!



  1. Wow, what a review! I absolutely loved this book, as you did. I love anything Christine writes! I can't wait for more stuff from her!

    1. Thank you so much Brooke! This is my second read by her and I can honestly say, she definitely has a way of pulling the reader in and holding them until the very last page. So glad you liked the review! Thanks for stopping by :)