Traveler by L.E. DeLano
Book One of the Traveler series
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
I'm pretty upset about not liking this book. Actually, I've just finished the book and I'm very irritated, but I'm also upset that I didn't like it (and I blame the book, not myself). I see the appeal? I get it? Really it was the last quarter of the book that made me want to throw it across the room.
I received a galley of this book unsolicited from the publisher (and this did not affect my opinion in any way - clearly). I wasn't even going to read the book (because it was sent unsolicited, and I'd not heard of it before), but several bloggers convinced me that I would love it. I didn't (obviously).
Jessa has always had a wild and colorful imagination. She comes up with stories and writes them. Lately, her stories have been filled with a green-eyed boy who is always with her - right before she dies of some way. One day she looks up from a mundane task and he is real, and in front of her. It turns out, she and Finn (green eyes) are Travelers, and that all of those stories she came up with are actually memories from other versions of herself. What's more, all of those times Jessa imagined herself dying truly happened - those versions of herself, in other "realities", were killed. Finn is here to help with learn to Travel, and to figure out who is trying to kill her.
This book started off REALLY well. In fact, like I said, I was doing great until about the three-quarter mark. This is a neat concept and a cute story.
The idea is that there are multiple realities, and that Jessa is living in one, but there are other realities and other versions of her out there. They are all "her", but since the other realities are different, so are those other Jessa's. Same with Finn - he is Finn in every reality, but slightly different. Every time Jessa travels, she gets the memories of that Jessa, and the Jessa that switches gets her memories. I don't think I've read anything quite like that! Switching with another version of yourself to travel to that version's "reality" is so bizarre and neat.
I liked Jessa, and was cool with her for most of the book. She's funny and smart, a good student and a good sister. She is so cautious when she first meets Finn, because she doesn't believe him. But once Jessa catches on, she gets into Travel and likes it. Her favorite "reality" is a historical one, in which she is an heiress and she meets a pirate Finn. She really likes that Finn.
The "real" Finn that we know in this original reality is a charming, sweet guy. He's also a bit protective and a little bossy, but he's a good guy. I liked him and I thought he and Jessa fit well together, as a pair. They have quite a history together - in other realities.
I cruised through this book, and was really enjoying myself! Everything started to fall apart at a certain point and I really can't bring myself to have an overall positive outlook on this book. See the next section!
What I Did Not Like:
Two big things had my opinion doing a one-eighty: the romance, and the ending.
Now, the romance is actually supposed to be really straightforward. We have Jessa, and we have Finn. They pretty much have an instant connection, which makes sense, because other versions of themselves have fallen for each other in other realities (not that feelings in one reality affect other realities). Jessa falls for Finn and only Finn... the Jessa of the original reality.
It gets weird because Jessa Travels and switches with another Jessa. This other Jessa comes from a reality in which she's dating a guy who is original Jessa's best friend Ben. In the original reality, Ben has feelings for Jessa. SO, what do you think happens when Jessa goes into "other Jessa"'s reality, and "other Jessa" goes into "original Jessa"'s reality? Other Jessa makes out with Ben and it gets heavy. When our original Jessa comes back... she realizes that Ben thinks she's in love with him, blah blah blah.
This... this is a mess. It's such a mess and it's not even a love triangle? BUT IT IS, because technically that "other Jessa" IS "original Jessa"! They're different versions of Jessa, but they're all Jessa. "Original Jessa" has feelings only for Finn but she has all of the other Jessa's memories, including this "other Jessa" that dates Ben in the "other Jessa reality". And of course, what "other Jessa" does in the "original reality", "original Jessa" will know. UGH! This is so frustrating! Poor Ben! I feel terrible for him because it's not even Jessa that tells him she loves him (YES, THIS HAPPENS). It's "other Jessa" who is dating Ben back in her reality! AHHHHH! NO.
Messy, right? Love triangle but NOT a love triangle. Eventually, our original Jessa has to spill all the beans and tell Ben everything (including the part about another Jessa kissing him, and not actually her). But that doesn't happen for a while. Blech.
The other thing that killed this book for me was the ending. I know, I know, this series isn't over. But the ending is extremely heartbreaking and extremely permanent. I know the author drops a ton of hints in the story involving Jessa's favorite version of Finn, the pirate, but I'm not a happy camper with the ending. It was cruel and I'm not sure it really made sense to end the story that way... but what do I know.
Another smaller thing that I wasn't amused with was the lack of conflict? It felt like the book had no direction, for a while. Doesn't it sound intriguing that Jessa keeps dying over and over? Well, we never get to see or experience one of those deaths. Which makes sense, because if Jessa died, that would be bad for the story. But I thought that the whole death thing would be a little more pressing? OH and would you believe that a prophecy pops up in this book? And that Jessa is quite the special snowflake? I rolled my eyes so hard when I read this cheesy, cliche plot device. So random, so cliche, and so underdeveloped (in this story).
And for the record, pirates and ships don't appear nearly as many times as I was led to believe. A ship really shouldn't be on the cover, because it's not a good metaphor and actual ships appear, like, once or twice.
Honestly, I regret reading this book. I wasted my time. It was an unsolicited galley and I should have just skipped it and passed it along.
Would I Recommend It:
I personally don't recommend it but sooo many others have enjoyed this book, so if you're looking forward to reading it, give it a shot. If you'd never heard of it before, keep living your life. Like I said above, I'd been enjoying this book immensely, until about the three-quarter mark. It was really great! And then it took a huge nosedive (for me). I do not recommend the book, especially if you're like me and want HEAs and linear romances.
2 stars. I regret the decision to read this book. I'm not going to give it 1 star because I enjoyed more than half of the book. But trust me friends, one thing is enough to make a person want to throw the book at a wall (in this case, two things). I tried with this one, I really did!
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