“Trance” by Kelly Meding

[amtap book:isbn=1451620926]

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.

It was a battle decades in making: the Ranger Corps, government sponsored Metas (people with super-powers) battling the Banes (anyone else with similar powers.) It all came down to a running battle in downtown Manhattan, as the more numerous Banes slew the Rangers, reducing their numbers until only the youngest members remained, which included Trance, ‘ten-going-on-eleven’ with the power to hypnotize people by looking into their eyes, which wasn’t much help during the running firefight. It was all reaching the end, their comrades and family down, nothing left to protect and defend them.

And then it was over. All the Metas lost their powers at once. The government stepped in to remove the remaining underaged Rangers and try to return them to society, leaving the Banes to stay on the ruined island. And the world went on with its business.

But it wasn’t over. Somehow, the mysterious process that caused the Metas to lose their powers stopped several years later. The battle, left on hold for so many years, was back on again. Their old enemy, Spectre, was already targeting them before they can re-unite.

Commentary: Alas, the only scene seen with Trance using her hypnotic powers is in the first few pages, so the potential of the book’s title was essentially wasted, but it still is worthy of being an entry in the Collection because of the powers of the opponent, Spectre, which are telepathic and telekinetic control, which he uses to control innocent victims and force them to attack the Meta heroes.

History: I saw this title at the bookstore last week and felt tempted to get it, if only for the possibility that the ‘trance’ as described involved some form of hypnotic control. I was not disappointed when I discovered this line within the first few pages:

My ability to hypnotize people and alter their thoughts worked only if I looked them in the eye.

Therefore I was disappointed when at the end of the first chapter, every one of the Metas lost their powers, and later, when they got them back, Trance got her grandmother’s energy control powers instead. Such a waste …

And I did have my doubts about the book, because it had the (external) hallmarks of being part of the ‘paranormal romance’ genre, but I found that this wasn’t the case. There is a strong romantic element to it, but its not as strong as the genre I mentioned would indicate. For my part, I see the ‘paranormal romance’ genre consisting of hot chicks with paranormal backgrounds (vampires, demons, werewolves, etc.) involved equally with hot&heavy sex and violence. This wasn’t the case here, as the sex was pretty non-existent and the romance angle as a rational part of the character development.

Recommendation: I can’t really recommend it for the hypnotic angle but it was a fairly good read.

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