Where to start? I have pretty mixed feelings about this book. It took me a while to get into it and it wasn’t until the last few chapters that I really got invested.
There may be some minor spoilers to follow so beware.
Traveler caught my interest partly by its title (I love traveling so the title immediately caught my eye), and partly by the concept behind story. The novel follows Jessa as she meets the mysterious Finn and learns that the reality she exists in is only one of thousands of realities (or more), and she’s one of the talented few who has the ability to use mirrors to travel between realities and influence events, thus her title as Traveler.
The concept behind this is pretty good, but I found through most of the book that it was not explored to it’s utmost potential. I felt like there were a lot of aspects and possibilities behind the mythology of Travelers, as well as the mysterious Dreamers who direct their activities, that DeLano left unexplored, and that was only one of my frustrations with the book. The two biggest things that bothered me throughout were the use of so many YA tropes, and Jessa’s apparent complete lack of curiosity.
There are a lot of things in this novel that you will have seen before. For instance the ‘girl meets mysterious guy, to whom she is mysteriously attracted, only to learn that she has a mysterious power that she has to use to save the world’ trope so often seen in YA fiction these days. The premise of the story kept me reading even though I was almost instantly frustrated with the book, and I am glad that I stuck it out because the ending finally caught my interest. Although I still think there is a lot of work to be done to make this a really top notch series, I will seek out the sequel whenever it should be published, which won’t be for some time
As far as protagonists go Jessa isn’t exactly the most original. In fact, thinking back now I can’t think of any aspect of the character that really hooked me, or that I found particularly interesting, the only thing that makes Jessa’s story worth reading is the circumstances of her life. But the thing about her that frustrated me most was that she never seemed to ask any questions. As Jessa began to learn about her role as a Traveler there were so many questions that she should have asked but didn’t, or at least not for a long time after I felt they should have been asked. True, most of the questions that I wondered about eventually got answered, but I feel that someone in Jessa’s position should have tried to find the answers much sooner rather than just waiting for them to be handed out to her when they were convenient. Honestly, I spent a good portion of the novel thinking that the concept of Travelers and alternate realities was woefully underdeveloped and the reason my questions weren’t being answered was because the author didn’t even know the answers. Fortunately that wasn’t the case, but it definitely colored my perception of the novel most of the way through. I don’t want to give any serious spoilers, but lets just say that these weren’t questions that might just not have occurred to Jessa but questions that, without the answers to them, her role as a Traveler makes absolutely no sense.
Ok, so that was a lot of bad stuff about the novel, but there is good stuff too, I promise. The alternate reality concept really is very interesting and has a lot of potential. Delano explores a few different realities during this first book in the series and they are quite interesting. By the end of the book I actually was starting to get invested in the characters and what would happen to them, but, to be perfectly honest, the best part of this book was the way it ended. Delano has set up a lot of potential for following books in which his mythology, multiverse, and characters will have a lot of room for exploration and development. So, I would not recommend this book in and of itself, but, as the start too a potentially good series, I would suggest giving it a try, though you might wait a while for the next book in the series to come out before trying it. All in all a 2/5 with potential for the future.