Blog Tour: Transcender: First Timer by Vicky Savage

Today, I am really excited to be part of Vicky Savage's Transcender: First Timer tour hosted by my dear friend Christina of Ensconced in Lit. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Ryder Blackthorne (aka the hottest bandit-kidnapper love interest ever of all time!) for my post. Feel free to check out the interview, my review, and the AWESOME tour-wide giveaway below! The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: July 20, 2011
Genre: young adult contemporary, alt history, sci-fi, romance
Format/Source: DRC, from the author
Status: Book 1 of the Transcender series
Summary: Ripped away from her quiet Connecticut life with the force of a lightning bolt and glitched into a weird alternate universe, Jaden Beckett lands smack in the middle of a kidnapping--her own!
The powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency (IUGA) engineers her escape and is working overtime to return her home.

But now Jaden's not sure where she belongs. In this world, she has her mother back (a miracle she never imagined). She's known as Princess Jaden, a member of the royal family of one of the three surviving nations,and against her better judgment, she's fallen insanely in love with Ryder Blackthorn, the most wanted outlaw in the land.

Can the IUGA force her to go? Or is Jaden what others in the land beleive she is--a Transcender with the ability to travel among alternate worlds at will?

She's not sure what to believe or who she can trust--except herself.

Character interview with  Ryder Blackthorne:
Ryder, welcome to Mary Had a Little Blog! Thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by and answer some questions. And also tell Jaden I say thank you for lending you to me forever, I mean, for the night.

*laughs lightly* I shall pass along your thanks, and I thank you, Mary, for having me as your guest. This is not something I do very often, since we have no bloggers in Unicoi.

So Ryder, the first time you are introduced is when Jaden wakes up after she fell. What was going through your mind in that moment?

An overwhelming sense of relief. When she fell from the cliff, I was terrified that she was gravely injured, and I felt enormously guilty—it was I who placed her in that peril. But when I attempted to use a healing wand to stanch the wound on her forehead, she opened her eyes and slapped my hand away. I knew then that she would be fine.

It seemed like you and Jaden had a pretty quick connection. I mean, those moments when you were riding Tenasi together and your arm was around her were pretty charged, even though it was early in your...shall we say acquaintance? Can you tell us what you look for in a girl and what specifically drew you to Jaden?

It may have seemed like an instant connection, but our story goes back a few years when we first met at Warrington Palace. She didn’t remember me, but it’s a day I shall never forget. Her hair shone like amber in candlelight, and it was the first time I’d ever seen green eyes. I was completely captivated. You know how it is when sometimes you hear a lovely tune that haunts you day and night, or happen upon a beautiful place and feel you’ve been there before? So it was with Jaden. After our first meeting, I couldn’t get her out of my head.

When did you realize that connection was something more than just attraction and perhaps also the thrill of a forbidden romance?

It was in the dungeons of Warrington Palace when she saved me from reeducation—a fate worse than death. I had previously abducted her and held her against her will, which I admit that’s not the best way of showing someone you’re interested. The courage and generosity she demonstrated in rescuing me put me to shame. In a moment of clarity, I realized that her good opinion meant more to me than anything else on earth.

I think one of my favorite parts of Jaden’s and your story is when you travel to Unicoi together. Where is your favorite spot in Unicoi, and what’s your favorite hobby or activity to do when you’re home?

Ah, my favorite spot is also where my favorite activity takes place. Wide-open space is scarce in Unicoi, even the crops are grown inside multi-story grow houses. So the vast open field at the warrior training camp is my favorite spot. I have fond memories of training to become a warrior at an early age, but those skills must be honed in order to remain sharp. So I love to go back and practice my swordsmanship with young warriors-in-training. The thrill of competition and the smell of sweat and churned-up earth are exhilarating!

You and Jaden risk a lot for love, for your families, for your very lives! How do you deal with all that stress?

One does what one must. What is life but passion and sacrifice and love? I’ve often found that the higher the risk, the greater the reward.

Can you share one thing no one else knows about you? Do you have some hidden talent or secret hiding behind your horseback-riding, slightly-naughty, silky-hair-and-ripped abs-having façade? The world wants to know!

*smiles enigmatically* Actually, I have a number of hidden talents, but I never share them publically, and I don’t know you well enough yet to impart them to you privately. Perhaps we shall become better acquainted in the future. I can tell you that I’m very good at brushing hair.

Several times Jaden proved she’s capable of saving herself, and you mention your admiration for her strength and her self-reliance. Why is that so important to you?

In all honesty, Jaden possesses everything she needs in this life—courage, intelligence, combat skills, and a royal bank account. She lacks for nothing, so I believe the fact that she chooses to be with me can mean only one thing: she loves me. Of course, I would lay down my life for her, but it’s comforting to know that if I’m not around, she can take care of herself.

Ryder, I know you’ve got a world to save so I guess I should let you get back to it, but before you go, I just want you to know that if you ever find yourself single again, you can come visit me anytime! :)

You flatter me. I do have some tribal matters to attend to, but I’ve enjoyed our conversation tremendously and hope we shall meet again soon. Perhaps you would consider conducting a blogging seminar in Unicoi if we’re ever fortunate enough to have the internet.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. 

I've been very cautious about what I'm reading this summer because 1. I've been burned by some books, even those that have been recommended by friends, and 2. with my limited reading time, I want to be reading books I love, not books I feel obligated to read. I am so glad Christina approached me to be part of the Transcender: First Timer tour because this book was a lot of fun! Transcender is a really unique read. Jumping genres is certainly an increasing trend, and I really like the way Vicky managed to merge historical, contemporary, action/adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, and romantic elements into this story without it feeling choppy or forced. I think fans of any genre will find something they enjoy in Transcender, but please understand that Ryder's abs are something you will have to enjoy from a distance because DIBS. :P

I really like that this book is primarily about Jaden finding and asserting herself. She starts off as a kind of follower, doing what Ralston or her mother want her to, but eventually she learns to stand up for herself or for the right thing, no matter how much opposition she faces. Jaden's adventures in the alt-universe of Domerica might be a work of science fiction, but her struggles to trust herself is one that many readers will identify with. Add in a healthy dose of Parental Drama and horrible first dates with douche-tastic boys, and you will totally find yourself empathizing with Jaden's plight, even if you can't jump to other dimensions including worlds in which you may be a crown princess. Also, I think it's pretty fantastic that Jaden doesn't wait around for the men in her life to rescue her; she rescues herself! Add in the fact that Jaden is willing to rescue THEM when they need it, and I'm loving our outspoken sassy mc.

I also really like the way Vicky portrays different kinds of relationships in Transcender. Jaden and Drew, Jaden and her mom, her dad, Ryder and his friends and family.... There are so many different family situations represented in the book and all are depicted in their own unique way. Ryder and Jaden do have a bit of an insta-love connection going on, but it is explained in certain terms that make me okay with that in addition to the fact that I've recently changed my views on the whole insta-love tihng. Also, I am intrigued to read Streaming Stars and Illuminosity to see how this relationship grows and changes throughout the series as a whole. Jaden's relationship with her mom is probably the most complex in the book, and I like how Vicky really explores and delves into it in each of their interactions. Even though these two characters are queen and princess, they still have normal mother-daughter moments that are very realistic and relatable.

A couple things that I was less happy with were the pacing, which seemed incredibly fast sometimes but a little too slow at others. I would have liked some of the primary action at the end of the book to have happened earlier to build up the conflict over a larger portion of the book rather than having the conflict happen directly before the resolution. I think this happens because of the considerable amount of world-building that needed to be done as well as introduction of some series-long conflicts so I do understand, but my personal preference would have been a smoother, more uniform pace. Secondly, even though I do love the inclusion of so many different genres, sometimes I felt like the historical elements stilted the dialogue a bit too much. Jaden, in all her current-ness, obviously speaks like someone who lives in 2014 USofA. Everybody else is obviously a bit more formal as the societies of Domerica and Unicoi, the entire world in fact, is completely different. Still, I found the drastic changes a bit too distracting. Like with the pacing, I would have liked the vocabulary of the dialogue to be more moderate.

Overall, I found Transcender: First Timer to be engaging and intruiging. I've only read book one, and even with a couple minor technical complaints, I can't wait to read the other books in the trilogy. I think Jaden and her story contain qualities that any reader will find relatable and thus enjoyable. Also, ALSO, Ryder's abs, but again I say dibs!

Book Buy Links:

Jaden and Ryder's story continues!
Streaming Stars, Transcender book 2
Pub Date: January 2, 2013

Genre: young adult contemporary, alt history, sci-fi, romance
Summary: Eighteen-year-old Jaden Beckett has thirty days to make the ultimate decision about her destiny. Which path will she choose? Her current life with her loving family in Connecticut? An alternate life in an intriguing parallel world with the man she loves? Or the astonishing life of a multi-universe Transcender?

Streaming Stars, Book 2 of the Transcender Trilogy, Jaden and her mentor, Agent Ralston, return to Domerica, where she reunites with her mother and her fiancé, Ryder Blackthorn, embarks upon fantastic Transcender adventures in exotic parallel worlds, and narrowly escapes a hit squad of Black Knights.

In the end, Jaden’s decision is anything but simple.

Available from:

Illuminosity, Transcender book 3
Pub Date: May 16, 2014
Genre: young adult contemporary, alt history, sci-fi, romance
Summary: Mystery, romance, and high adventure in parallel dimensions. In this highly anticipated conclusion to the Transcender Trilogy, Jaden Beckett faces her greatest challenges to date. Her choice is clear: leave the love of her life or face certain death. With Warrington Palace under siege, Jaden and Ryder are wrenched away from each other, as the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency seeks Jaden's ultimate demise. Heartsick and alone, she begins a new chapter of life as a Transcender, only to discover that her fiercest battle has yet to come. Is Jaden safe anywhere in the galaxy? Or should IUGA ask itself that question, having underestimated her before? With her usual wit and tenacity, Jaden fights to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love.

Available from:

Follow the tour!
Check out the other stops of the Transcender tours for interviews with Vicky and Jaden, a Transcender character quiz, and more! Don't forget to enter the AMAZING tour-wide giveaway for books, t-shirts, swag, and a $50 gift card!

July 21  Ensconced in Lit (review) & Crystal in Bookland (Transcender character quiz)
July 22 Pandora's Books (Transcender movie wish list) & Ensconced in Lit (character interview with Jaden)
July 23 YA Book Nerd Reviews (review) & Wonderland of Reading (review)
July 24 The Whimsical Mama (guest post)
July 25 Tea and Fangirling (review) & A Reading Nurse (guest post)
July 26 I Heart YA Fiction (author interview) & Mary Had a Little Book Blog (character interview with Ryder)

About the Author: 
Vicky Savage grew up gazing upon the beauty of the Wasatch Mountain Range right outsideher family’s kitchen window. She thought the Rocky Mountains would always own her heart, until she moved to sunny Florida for law school and instantly fell in love with the ocean. Her passion for new adventures and exotic locales led her on a circuitous path to writing science fiction/fantasy about strange new worlds and parallel universes. Although she has lived in seven different states and London, England, the siren call of the ocean always brings her back to her beloved Florida, where she currently lives with her husband, son, and two dogs.
Author Links:

Grand prize: $50 Amazon gift card, signed Transcender trilogy, and Transcender swag

3 second place prizes: winner's choice of one signed book, complete trilogy in ebook or Transcender t-shirt

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. MARY!!!! *TACKLE HUG* Loved your interview with Ryder *drool* (also stays cautious distance away from Ryder's abs) and your terrific and well balanced review on Transcender. Can't wait to see what you think about the other books and thanks again for agreeing to be part of the tour!!! <333

  2. Mary, so thrilled to be featured on your blog today! Thanks so much for your insightful review and your fun interview with Ryder Blackthorn. I think Jaden might be a little jealous. :-)

  3. Seriously--->Ryder's abs! The book boys in this trilogy are just all kinds of swoony. I think I'll stay on the safe side here and take Asher's abs. ;)