Author: Kelly Meding
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Metawars (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
ISBN-10: 1451620926 (Pocket Books)
ISBN-13: 978-1451620924 (Pocket Books)
Reviewed by: Kristie
Fifteen years ago, Teresa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud member of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inexplicably rendered powerless at the climax of the devastating Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to another. Now her powers have reappeared just as mysteriously as they vanished— only they’re completely transformed and more potent than ever. And they’re threatening to destroy her.
Trance heads to Los Angeles to track down the surviving Rangers and discover who restored her powers—and why—but a phantom enemy is determined to kill them before they can reassemble. As they dodge his deadly attacks and come to terms with their new role as heroes, Trance and the rest of the team set out to annihilate the sinister madman . . . only to discover their own powers are his greatest weapons.
Quick & Dirty: This superhero Urban Fantasy is complete with enough action and suspense to keep your attention.
Opening Sentence: The bronze man’s head was melting.
Trance begins in the middle of a superhero battle between the Ranger Corps and the Banes. The Ranger Corps are basically the Avengers/Justice League, all the good Metas, while the Banes are all the evil Meta humans who have banded together to destroy the Rangers. Metas are humans with extraordinary powers. Teresa “Trance” West is only 10 years old and she is running for her life with a group of young Rangers in training. Teresa feels useless in this battle, in order for her powers of telepathy to work she has to get close to her target and look them in the eyes, but they are battling adults, ones with very strong powers and others who are not above using guns on the young group. Just when it seems like it is going to be a massacre, all Meta humans are stripped of their powers.
Fifteen years later, Teresa is living in Portland. She is hiding from her past and she is working three jobs that barely pay for her rent. Teresa has a quick temper and when she is fired from one of her jobs she is not sure what she will do next. Lucky for her the decision has been made for her, that night her Meta powers are returned to her, but not the same powers that were originally hers. Her hair, eyes and skin change color so she cannot hide who she is anymore. She decides to travel to Los Angeles, the original base for the Rangers to see if others have had their powers returned to them.
On her trip down the coast, Teresa unexpectedly runs into Gage “Cipher” McAllister, a hypersensitive Meta, whom she used to have a crush on as a kid. Teresa and Gage decide to team up and travel to L.A. together after being attacked by Spector, the leader of the Banes during the Meta War. Spector is one truly messed up guy, he wants to kill all Metas. He has a habit of body hopping. He can control other peoples’ minds and bodies. The only way to stop him is by killing the person he inhabits.
Once in L.A., Trance and Cipher meet up with other members of the Rangers that survived the war, which unfortunately is not very many. The survivors team up to track down more Metas and throw in a little superhero work on the side. Trance, once useless in battle now has more effective powers, is in charge of the only team of Rangers in the world. Spector is killing Trance’s teammates off one by one. Trance and her team try to learn the reason why their gifts returned while trying to survive Spector’s wrath.
Kelly Meding has created a sad and dangerous world in which the Metas live. The Meta War has devastated the United States. Major cities like St. Louis, Chicago, New York City and even L.A. have all been destroyed; rebuilding the cities has been a slow process in the fifteen years the Metas have lost their powers. Humans are wary of the Metas and have a love/hate relationship with them. Manhattan Island is a prison for the Banes that survived the war.
Trance is stronger than she thinks, in a tough world where her “friends” are dying all around her, she is their rock. She is a good character and I felt sorry for the situation she has been put through, but I had a hard time caring for her. I wasn’t really feeling her emotions, she had a few “woe is me” moments, but it was when she would get mad, it just kind of seemed to come out of nowhere. Her relationship with Gage was another reason I had a hard time with her character. I understood her problems with trust but there were a few moments she just came off as mean towards him. I loved the scene where Teresa and Gage step up their relationship, it was different and refreshing from what I’m used to, but with Teresa’s trust issues I’m surprised that scene even happened.
The battle at the beginning of the book is a little overwhelming at first. Kelly Meding introduces a bunch of characters in the heat of battle and it’s a little difficult to remember who is who. Then later as the survivors team back up, members are quickly killed off before you even get to know them. The deaths are essential to the storyline but the impact of the deaths doesn’t translate very well. As a bad guy, Spector, is about as bad as they get. He is able to kill people off without revealing himself or being nearby. I did enjoy the suspense around finding Spector.
As a whole, I enjoyed Trance. I love the X-Men and any chance I get to read about superheroes I try to take it. Trance has a few slow scenes that revolve around the world-building but as a first book in a new series the explanations help. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, Changeling. I can’t wait to see how the characters move on from the events of Trance.
I nudged the dead woman’s hand with my bare toes. The third finger had two rings on it, one a very large (a probably fake) diamond. My first thought was to wonder how much a pawnbroker would give me for that ring. My second – and much more pressing – concern was about the man who had probably given the rings to her.
“Where’s the other guy?” I asked.
A looming shadow filled the door, still dressed in the same jeans and flannel. I looked up, right into a pair of yellow eyes and a sawed-off shotgun.
No time to duck, nowhere to go.
“Say hi to your father for me,” he sneered, his voice a queer blend of the man’s and someone else’s. Monstrous and terrifying.
Enraged, I clapped my hands together with no real idea what would happen, and he fired immediately after. The buckshot struck a haze of violet energy and ricocheted, like a thousand Ping-Pong balls. Blood and gore splattered the open doorway and walls.
The Metawars Series:
FTC Advisory: Pocket Books provided me with a copy of Trance. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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