Book Review: Transcend by Christine Fonseca

Author: Christine Fonseca
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Historical Romance
Released: September 12th 2012
Review Source: Author
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) All seventeen-year-old composer Ien Montgomery desires is an escape from his family's rigid expectations for his life; someone to inspire his music. When he meets a beautiful violin-prodigy, Kiera McDougal, his life music takes on new life. With her, he imagines a future outside of his parents’ control. That is, until a horrible accident tears them apart.

Sent to die in a sanatorium, Ien’s obsession for Kiera grows unbearable. Tortured by thoughts he can’t escape and the truth of his monstrous disfigurement, he flees, desperate to exact revenge on the people that ruined his life – his parents. But, vengeance is empty. Betrayed by those closest to him, Ien discovers that the price for his happiness may be his sanity.

Set amidst the landscape of New York's Gilded Age, and inspired by Phantom of the Opera, TRANSCEND exposes the fine line between love and madness.

The story opens with our main character, Ien Montgomery. Ien has lead a charmed life. He's the second son to one of New York societies most affluent families. He attends the local boys preparatory school and is in love with a girl named Kiera. He has a mother and father that are overbearing like a well to do family with high expectations would be. In fact, they are so overbearing you often want to wring their necks. All Ien wants to do in life is pursue music, more specifically composing and playing music on the piano. But his parents have different plans for their youngest son. His parents need him to stop wasting time on music and start preparing to take over the family business now that his oldest brother, Erik, has died. Mother wants Ien to have nothing to do with Kiera and believes her to be a bad match for him and their family.

Desperate to take control of his future, Ien decides to propose to the girl he loves and turn his back on Mother and all of his familial expectations. Just when his life starts to follow the course of his choosing a terrible fire breaks out and Ien is engulfed in flames. He is left horribly maimed by the fire and turned out of his home by his parents. He is then committed to a sanatorium where they hope he will get the healing that he needs to overcome his disfigurement. After several months in the sanatorium, Ien starts to slowly lose his sanity. He is driven mad by his mother leaving him to die and decides to exact his revenge on those responsible for faking his death and keeping him from his one true love.

There are a few things that I love in life; one of them naturally is a great story but my heart has always belonged to music. So when I was handed an ebook and the synopsis of the story read "inspired by the Phantom of the Opera", my heart fluttered. I did not walk into this thinking I was going to read a happy go lucky story however. This story is very dark and extremely emotional; haunting and beautiful at the same time. Christine Fonseca is an absolute genius at capturing the darker side of humanity. While reading this story I was struck by daydreams of what it would have been like to have lived in the 1800's. To witness someone with Ien's level of disfigurement and to think of them as a devil or demon; to run in the opposite direction screaming. The whole concept seems foreign these days but that's what touched me about this story and made my heart hurt for Ien on his journey to come to terms with his injuries. Fonseca writes his struggle with the demons in his head in such a powerful way that days after finishing reading, I am still haunted by Ien's story. This was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind reading a story that takes them to the darkest places in the human psyche.


  1. I am completely honored by the review...THANK YOU!

  2. Excellent review! I'm sold! Although it sounds like I might have to read this with ice cream and a hanky.

    1. Katrina, YES! I should have done this as well. But you will enjoy it!

    2. Katrina, YES! I should have done this as well. But you will enjoy it!


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