Thursday, 16 January 2014

Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Transparent (Transparent #1) by Natalie Whipple
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: May 16th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

High school is hard when you're invisible.

Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn't even know what colour her own hair is.

Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world's most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at 'normal life' with a mother on the edge, a brother she can't trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.
(from Goodreads)

Transparent was such an enjoyable read! I loved all the different elements to it - it was a great mix of everything and the idea was executed really well - with invisibility, there's a chance things can get really cheesy or cliché, but Transparent wasn't like that at all and I really liked it overall.

Fiona was a fab main character. She had basically been used as a tool by her (detestable) father her whole life, and yet no matter what she did, she never felt like she got his approval. He made her lie and steal and do awful things, and used her invisibility for his own means. He never saw her as a person - no-one did. People were either afraid of her or resented her. The poor girl didn't even know what she looked like and yet she had to deal with a messed up family on top of everything else. Fiona didn't trust anyone either and it was difficult for her to open up to people at the start. I liked watching her character develop and realise that not everyone was like her father, and that some people genuinely cared about her. It was nice to see people appreciate her for who she was - I think she really needed to know that.

I loved a lot of the characters in this book, but Miles, Bea and Seth were my favourites. Miles was one of Fiona's brothers and at the start seemed to be the only person in her family actually concerned about her welfare. Her mother tried too, but it was difficult to like her at the beginning. Miles was just likeable and lovely and genuine and was willing to do whatever he could to protect his sister. He hated their father and didn't want Fiona to continue having to live with him. And he just had a personality you couldn't help but warm to! Bea was Fiona's first real friend, I suppose, though things started off a bit shaky between them. I liked that Bea didn't give up on trying to be Fiona's friend and I really enjoyed reading about their friendship and how close they became later on. Bea was willing to do a lot to help Fiona, even though it was dangerous, and I just think she was a really good friend. I liked her own complicated relationship with Brady too (who was also a great character) and was glad she got her own story, even if it was small. Seth was a character I, much like Fiona, didn't really like much to begin with, but he really grew on me. I liked his passion for maths and his determination to help Fiona who struggled with it. He also kept her secrets and was generally there for her to talk to when she had a problem - they could sort of share their problems with each other, and it was nice to see they could comfort one another when things were tough. He could be a bit sappy at times, but it was forgivable since he was a good character the rest of the time!

Plot-wise, I really loved the whole escape-from-the-syndicate storyline. I really didn't know who to trust or what Fiona's dad might do if he found them, and there were a lot of surprises along the way. I was never bored and the book was just really easy to read and engage with - it was thoroughly entertaining. It was actually a bit darker than I expected, but had just the right amount of comedy to balance it out, and like I said before, it wasn't cliché like it could have been. It was just such an interesting story - I've read about invisibility powers before, but never about someone who was permanently invisible, so it was intriguing to see from that point of view. Looking forward to the next book.

Overall, I really liked Transparent and definitely recommend it to people who like books about superpowers with a side of romance and comedy.

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