Transcendence by Benjamin Wilkins


“No switch was flipped or button pressed. No infection broke out and ran amok…And yet, for all the chaos and change to come, when it finally took shape enough for us to make it out in the darkness, the apocalypse was not really an end at all. It was a beginning.”

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Short Summary: 
An apocalyptic tale of normality spiraling into the chaos of brutality and berserkers.

My Review: I’m not even sure where to begin this review because there is just so much that goes on in this book that it’s hard to narrow down what I want to focus on. This is going to be a longer review than I’m use to doing, so bare with me. This book is a mess of information, characters, and events. It needs to be re-organized badly, but it has the potential to be a great series.

What I loved about this book: The writing itself was great. The details were plentiful and descriptive; great scenes that I was able to picture easily in my head. I really enjoyed the first few chapters, especially the car accident and Walmart trip. I really like Emmett as a character a lot! He was the only character that had me on a roller coaster of emotions, hating him first and then loving him the more I followed his story. His story could be a story of its own if the author wanted it to be, as could Bobby-Leigh’s.

Chapters 1-3 were probably the most memorable: the car accident, deaths, and the events that take place at Walmart (trying not to spoil anything). However, I felt like there were a lot of filler details that could have been completely stripped from the story all together. In fact, this is one book that I would love to take a red pen to and edit myself, which for me is rare. There are sentences and paragraphs that repeat a lot of what has already been said and explained. I also wasn’t a fan of jumping back and forth between character perspectives. It gave away a lot of things that could have been used to surprise me later in the end. It gave me information that I didn’t care about or that I felt were irrelevant to the story. I have no idea where this story was suppose to end, or where it is suppose to go next. There’s just too much going on and I’m lost.

I wanted to love this story. I wanted to love the characters, but I was a little disappointed.

Jen was boring, except when she had her berserk-out moments. She isn’t as tough as she pretends to be. She’s more obnoxious than anything. I mean, is there a reason she continuously uses the word “dude”? I cringed every time she said it. I can look past her “potty-mouth,” and her “I don’t give a shit attitude,” but again…I feel like she is attempting to act like a bad-ass and completely failing at it. She is not a strong female lead character, in my opinion, and maybe she wasn’t meant to be. Her strength and weakness of being able to berserk out is enough for her character, but I really wish she had been more relate-able and less of an asshole. Maybe then I would have been able to identify with her character on some level or even loved to hate her, but I just couldn’t.

Bobby-Leigh, on the other hand, would make a fantastic protagonist by herself in this story. There isn’t anything I don’t like about her. She is the strong female character, who struggles with her fading innocence with each new conflict she and her sister face. She is able to create her own identity and take care of herself without the aid, not that she gets any, from her sister. Jen doesn’t know the first thing about comforting or caring for a younger sister, much-less how to protect her. And, I’m not sure where the lack of sisterly affection happened or why the two are so emotionally distant, but it’s a bit maddening at times (example: how Jen acted toward Bobby-Leigh after the Walmart fiasco).

This book has potential, and maybe I missed something important somewhere within that ties it all together, but for me there was too much going on between events and characters for me to grasp what the author was trying to do with the plot.


If it were me, this is how I probably would have re-organized the books, if anyone cares:

I probably would have focused in on Jen, Bobby-Leigh, and Emmett’s stories the most in this book, as it is introducing the main characters and their conflicts. I would have only switched character perspectives between Emmett and Jen (if that’s who the female led is suppose to be, though I still think it should be Bobby-Leigh). The main conflicts in the story being: Jen and Bobby-Leigh needing to learn to survive in this world, while Jen is also a berserker; Their father in prison, his “escape,” and his reunion with his daughters; and finally, the girls joining up with Brennachecke’s gang, the climax of the story being the threat of Brennachecke and his own plan of revenge on Jen. Maybe Emmett shows up in the end and saves the day, or Jen saves Brennachecke’s life in a different way to “even the score”…but I would have left it there.

That’s it. That is all I would have focused on in the first book. It would have the readers focusing on the importance of those four characters, and where they will end up later on in the series. It would have let the readers identify, fall in love with, or hate these main characters in a way that would wrap up all the events in the first book completely, but also leave the readers wanting more, or even hanging…

I’d set the second book up with all other character perspectives, like Brennachecke, Dan, and Eric, though I think Eric’s story was more important than the other two. I probably would have just chucked the perspective of Brennachecke and Dan completely, and come up with a different way to introduce the blood pirates. The blood pirates would be the major threat in the second book. And finally, the third book would somehow tie in all of these events to lead up to Emmett’s main plan of revenge, and whether or not the three main characters would live happily-ever-after or not.

The only good thing about this book being so full of details and character perspectives is that it makes it easier to edit the story into something more organized. However, the author didn’t need to use all those character perspectives in the story. Some of the story needs to be left to the readers’ imaginations, or to surprise them later in the end. It’s good for the author to see into the actions and minds of ALL of the characters, but it’s not necessary for the readers to have that same insight to still grasp the characters’ relevance in the story.

I’d love to know where this story is headed. Maybe then the chaos of information I was given in this book would make more sense. Maybe the author knows something that I don’t, and has a reason for writing it this way, but I still think it needs some major edits of organization to flow in a way that the readers can follow more easily.

Long review, sorry. All-in-all, the book was okay. Great potential. Worth the read, but get ready to struggle through a mess of details and events that need to be re-organized. I’m looking forward to the next book to see where this is suppose to go.

This book was free on amazon, and the author asked me to read and review it.