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Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite
Transient by Zachry Wheeler is set in a dark and distant future where death is obsolete. Jonas is a transient — a human spy living among immortals. His mission is simple: always learn, never get caught. In the year 2578, the planet is controlled by immortals and humanity struggles to survive in the mountains and forests, far away from the high-tech cities. Jonas has spent years in the lion’s den and he’s grown to admire the immortal civilization; he’s learned to love what he previously and blindly hated. A reckoning is coming. The fates of billions hang in the balance and when the ax falls, Jonas must choose between his species and the immortals he’s come to know as family.
I’m an absolute fan of authors, writing in any genre, who can create an entirely new environment and characterization from previously well-known characters—in this case, vampires who embody the noblest, equitable, and familial environment ever envisioned but never attained by humanity. Excerpts from historical articles and recon notes assimilated by Jonas over his years as a transient artfully fill in the blanks of his world and his purpose. Wheeler adeptly uses this plot tactic to add verisimilitude in building this strange new world without massive data dumps and simultaneously providing some breaks in the action. Transient is an exceptionally well-written, thought-provoking novel that ultimately carries a humanist message, contrasting feigned morality with perceived evil. The conclusion is, as usual in a series, a bit of a cliff-hangar. It’s not a steep cliff, just enough to leave the reader hungry for the next book, and an answer to the question, “did Jonas follow orders or not?” Fortunately for me, and I’m sure many readers to come, books two and three (Thursday Midnight and The Mortal Vestige) are readily available.