Handsome Janek Walesa is burdened by tragedy and a desolation he cannot escape. Hoping to start anew, he leaves Oregon bound for San Francisco, but the nineteenth-century traveler is detoured to the town of Ferndale, California. A force stronger than any spirit he has ever felt challenges him. Others in the town befriend him, willing to challenge the dark forces he tries to resist. Their shared struggle transcends time and place and redefines what it means to be faithful.
Plot: The Transcendent follows 25-year-old Janek Walesa and his friends on their journey across time and space. The piece begins very grounded in reality, but soon builds tension through the sudden bouts of “darkness” Janek experiences. These bouts soon turn into full-on possessions and on-going torment which test not only Janek’s sanity, but his love for his friends and their desire to protect him. While keeping faith in oneself and the goodness in the world is a key theme of this story, equally important themes include friendship, love, loyalty, grief, and humanity. All of these concepts change the characters and challenge them to overcome their worst fears while resisting the darkness that tempts them every day, both past and present.
Prose/Style: This story is told in third person omniscient and follows the points of view of important characters, which reveal more about the mysterious force attached to Janek as well as his own journey to recovery. The tone is consistent, but changes slightly depending on whose point of view the reader is following. The prose itself is fast-paced and very dialogue-driven with surprising moments of poetic description. Though there are not many detailed descriptions of the surroundings or other sensory details like smell and taste, there is an abundance of scenes that rely on sight, such as where things are and what they are, and feelings, like pain and joy. This story is certainly categorized as literary fiction, with the subgenres of historical fiction, fantasy, and surrealism.
Originality: This novel is incredibly unique. Most stories about finding faith are works of nonfiction, but this form, coupled with its many themes, provides new insights into the concepts grief and spirituality. Because the text operates in uncharted territory, there are few, if any, cliques for it to follow. Almost everything is brand new.
Character Development/Execution: The Transcendent showcases a diverse cast of characters, each with detailed personal histories, and many of whose points of view we get to experience. While in Ferndale, Janek meets locals Evan and Lise, who serve to help him overcome his grief and the darkness that threatens to consume him. Every character serves a purpose at some point or another and helps to bring the entire world alive.
Date Submitted: April 10, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable journey!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2020
The Transcendent is beautifully written. It takes you on emotional journey through time, relationships and loyalty, all while keeping you at the edge of your seat! Salina allows the reader to connect personally with each character leaving you feeling as if you were there within the pages.