fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsKelly Meding The Metawars 1. TranceTrance by Kelly Meding

Kelly Meding, known for her DREG CITY urban fantasies, kicks off her new superhero-based series with Trance. The setting is the future of an alternate past and present. Metas (people with superpowers) were out in the open and known to all. The good guys were “Rangers” and the bad guys “Banes.” Then, during a violent showdown in a devastated Manhattan, all of the Metas lost their powers for reasons unknown. Public opinion had been souring on Metas anyway, and much of the country breathed a sigh of relief when they were depowered.

Trance begins during that battle. It’s a scary, nail-biting, heartbreaking opening. Teresa, a.k.a. Trance, is a teenager at the time. She and her friends, the children of the adult Rangers, are making a final stand against the Banes. Teresa sees several friends killed and, at the same time, begins to realize that the adults have lost and are dead. Then, something very strange happens…

The story picks up again with Trance a grown woman. She’s working two unpleasant jobs and feeling aimless — that is, until her powers inexplicably return. Except they’re the wrong powers. The other Metas, all of whom have led troubled lives, have also been repowered and begin to reassemble — but the bad guys have their powers back too.

Trance is a compelling read. It features a great character arc for Trance, who finds herself thrust into the position of “leader” and growing into the role. It’s poignant, with sympathetic characters killed off and leaving grief-stricken friends and lovers behind. And it’s twisty. Trance and the reader are never sure whom to trust: the villain is able to possess the Rangers and use their powers against each other; there may be a traitor at HQ; and Trance learns that the official history of the Rangers might not be precisely truthful. Oh, and there’s plenty of adrenaline-laced action and a sexy romantic subplot. The baddie’s dastardly scheme is a little too convoluted and ends in a monologue, but that almost seems archetypal for a supervillain.

Trance offers a good mix of emotional impact, mystery, and derring-do, and the superhero theme is still pretty fresh in urban fantasy. METAWARS promises to be an exciting, original series.

The Metawars — (2011-2013) Publisher: Kelly Meding’s war-ravaged Los Angeles is ground zero for the ultimate Meta human showdown in this sexy, action-packed new series. 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.

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  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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