I rate Transient at 4.5 stars (rounding up to 5).
In Transient we are introduced to Jonas, a human living among vampires (now given the sanitized label of eternals) in the far future. Jonas lives among the eternals as a spy, helping the remaining humans to survive and hopefully find a way to defeat their mortal enemy. It's not easy for Jonas and the other transients as they must take drugs to hide their presence among the undead and must partake in all the rituals of eternal society - including drinking blood. But the eternals have made it easy, mass-producing the process of drinking blood for survival in private feeding rooms.
The world-building that Zachary does for Transient is just amazing. Set in a Seattle of the far-future, with a race of people who cannot go out in daylight or they will die, he has created a fun and exciting world to explore with underground "skyscrapers" and a solar-powered economy (a bit ironic for vampires). In fact, the world of the eternals is pretty much a utopia where everybody works (less than 30 hours a week), gets universal health care (not that eternals are prone to disease or illness), get lots of time off, have a great economy, and have ended wars, want, or need. There is no poverty and everybody gets along. It's a perfect utopia, except that the remaining humans cling to the notion that the eternals are the spawn of the devil, an abomination unto God, and therefore must be destroyed. This leads to the major conflict for Jonas as he has started to disobey the rules laid down for transients - like don't fall in love. As Jonas struggles with his inner conflict he is given a new assignment by his human handlers - a way that will kill off all of the eternals. Is Jonas up to committing mass genocide to save the human race?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others. It provides a fun and unique twist on the vampire story with a compelling character in Jonas. My one quibble (and it's a minor one) is that Jonas' story is told in the first person, so the people around Jonas, from his eternal friends, to his human handlers and family, get only a cursory treatment. They are not necessarily backdrop, but they do not come across as fully realized either. Maybe that's just the hazard of telling the story in the first person, but with such a wonderfully created world I wanted to know more about the people who live in it, and having an eternal POV would have been nice. But don't let my quibble deter you from picking up this book, it is well worth the read and I hope that Zachary is working on another book featuring Jonas and this world.