Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (03/10)
Jinnie never feels like she quite belongs. Her existence feels vaguely like a dream and she keeps getting bizarre glimpses of another existence and other people connected to her, feeling like she’s constantly in the wrong place – or is it the wrong time? And then the world as she knows it is wrenched away from her and she’s thrown into this other existence, still feeling disoriented. She knows it and yet she does not. She knows herself, or does she? And while she feels like she should stay where her heart feels at home, she is torn away again and thrown into yet another world. Beloved again, but it all feels so wrong. This time she does not remember anything and everything feels truly foreign to her. The only constant is the memory of a love lost. Is there a way out? Why are all of those journeys happening to her? Does she truly belong anywhere?
Jenna Lindsey’s “The Traveler” deftly explores the idea of alternative realities and alternative lives. Her writing is fresh, distinctive and full of wonderful detail. Her worlds of Ispell, Hura and Yar are colorful, convincing and compelling. I’ve greatly enjoyed “meeting” her characters, which I found richly detailed and convincing. Jinnie’s struggle to understand what’s happening to her and her quest for happiness drew me in quickly, and I kept marveling at the twists and turns her life kept taking. I was particularly fascinated by the explanation of her travels as provided by Ninehtah, the wise Healer of the Daskiny people, which neatly tied everything together in a persuasive manner without destroying any of the previously woven magic of this spellbinding tale. Even the side stories were truly absorbing, and I sincerely hope Ms. Lindsey will decide to revisit some of those worlds and let the readers know how every one of the characters in “The Traveler” fared after Jinnie’s departure. This was one of those quite rare fantasy books that manage to stay believable in the best possible way while transporting the reader into a truly different, magical and fresh world of unlimited imagination and masterful storytelling, full of original and mind-boggling scenes, events and characters as well as very relevant personal and social issues.