“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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