"the tale’s dialogue, which, despite grappling with metaphysical ideas, is natural and affable... The interpersonal relationships and friendships this mysticism or extrasensory perception facilitates are warm and welcoming.”
Transcendence is set in a fictional American town, blends occult drama with a psychological thriller piece, and adds a touch of murder mystery via an unexpected protagonist: the murder victim's spirit, which faces a question of purpose in its reincarnated life.
The fact that the pharmacist has been murdered in the process of investigating an international drug ring is only the beginning of a complex tale. Themes move through her revision of her goals in the afterlife, her venture into the lives of unrelated people (think Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, but with more of a philosophical hand), and her growing realizations about unconditional love and its purpose in the world.
This lends Transcendence a much more ethereal and spiritual tone than other stories of reincarnation. What do dogs and business interests have to do with this bigger picture? Johanna Kristin Ellerup weaves a tale that incorporates many unusual facets throughout. Readers should cultivate flexibility as they pursue a mercurial story that delves into these different lives and realizations. Any such effort will be well rewarded with a story that is poignant, revealing, and filled with evocative descriptions of not just the familiar world, but other dimensions: "I was somehow lost, and that feeling alone confused me. I spent my entire known existence within a human body yet spending a few years as some form of singular energy had such a profound effect that returning to a human body left me discomfited. As energy, I envied humans the ability to feel themselves, to feel their existence and yet now it only feels like a dead weight. A huge, confining barrier to all other forms of existence and intellect. I marveled at the energy expenditure required to do the simplest of tasks, like lifting my arm, or finger."
Those seeking a blend of mystery, reincarnation saga, and spiritual reflective piece will find Transcendence just the ticket with its occult story of psychological suspense and spiritual and philosophical growth.
D. Donovan, Senior Book Reviewer