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Interesting well written book right up until the end, which had a ridiculous final chapter! I understand that we are being set up for a sequel, but a better writer could have dangled some possibilities and scenarios which would have made the reader anticipate the next book. Now I'm not sure that I wil buy the sequel
3.0 out of 5 starsEmotionally thin and obvious but with some good writing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 July 2010
Lucy is in her last year at school when her mysterious classmate, Daniel, tells her a strange story: that he loves her and has done so for hundreds of years through a myriad of different lives... Told in alternating first- and third-person narratives, this follows Daniel's story (told by him) from his first life in the 500s, and the tale of his present day relationship with Lucy.
I really wanted to love this book but found myself a bit disappointed. Although this is being sold as a book for adults, it frequently felt that it emotionally belongs in the teenage genre. There is more than a passing resemblance between Daniel and Edward Cullen (although, of course, their `affliction' is different) and Daniel's voice feels like a feminine, rather than masculine one or, more precisely, a romantically idealised male voice as imagined/fantasised by a female author.
This is the sort of book where people love through fate or destiny without having to get to know each other at all and it is, of course, `true love'. The plot feels a bit sparse to me and very fragmented: so there are lots of little sections, some only a couple of pages, where Daniel recounts his previous lives. The addition of an evil brother who completes the love triangle was a bit too much like a pantomime villain and the whole patterning too neat.
Brashares can write some beautiful prose but it's inconsistent and this book, overall, lacked atmosphere and real emotional power for me. Reading is always a very personal matter of taste and other reviewers here clearly loved this: I found this a bit thin and obvious but suspect my teenage niece will love it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 September 2010
I don't normally read romance, but I liked the concept behind this one, so I thought I'd give it a go. Daniel's soul has been reincarnated numerous times over several years, but unlike most people he remembers the details of his past lives. Weaving throughout all of them is a girl, the same soul in different forms, whom Daniel falls in love with repeatedly throughout his many lives. But each time their relationship seems doomed to disaster. When he meets her this time round as Lucy, can he make it any different this time?
I loved the historic detail behind Daniel's previous lives, and on this level I felt is character was well realised and quite compelling. What I found the novel fell down on was the previous relationships between him and the past Lucys. With the exception of her wartime incarnation we never really get to know her properly, and so the connection between then seems one sided. I would have liked a little more back story to convince me that this 'soul' was the same person recurring year after year.
It's not something I would go back to and read again, but it was certainly enjoyable, and perhaps for fans of the genre the novel might hold a little more pull than it did for me.
3.0 out of 5 starsInteresting look through history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2010
I read this book over a weekend but found it quite wordy and although it was interesting enough to hold my attention, the feeling I got when I had finished it was actually 'phew, I finally got to the end'.
The idea behind this novel is that souls can be re-born over and over but for a handful of very special (unfortunate?) people, they will remember all their past lives - and all the pain and heartache of the past, till they feel they can't take any more.
In this story, the main character is one such person, whose memories span many centuries, and who sees his soul-mate over and over and over in different bodies, different genders, different ages, but who is never able to engage with his soul-mate in any of his many lives despite trying every tactic imaginable.
Ultimately, in the last life, something happens differently and the cycle of the centuries looks like it might finally been broken, but has it?
An interesting take on the idea of past lives and carrying memories from one lifetime to the next. Three stars.
3.0 out of 5 starsInteresting and memorable, but a little contrived
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 October 2010
While I liked the format of this book, and the unusual way it was laid out, I found the romantic elements a bit contrived and cloyying, and couldn't really settle into the book. While it was an insteresting read, I wouldn't nessessarily revist in a hurry. This is one of those very rare books I think will actually make a better movie than a book!
I loved this book but was absolutely disappointed in their being no resolution and no second book. Horrible way to spend 3 sleepless nights reading only to have such a beautiful and endless book. I loved her style and I loved the characters but at the end of the day without any form of resolution it's just an overall disappointment and extremely frustrating for someone who desperately hates unresolved anything in my reading. Sadly it was a book club book but I definitely wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who hates unresolved drama.
I would have easily given this book five stars had it provided any resolution. It did not. The concepts and characters are complex, the writing is thoughtful and well paced, but a book that has no conclusive ending is, TO ME, worse than no book at all. Authors are usually writers who appreciate story-telling, and understand how invested readers become in compelling stories and characters. I'm not sure what happened here. I've read in other places that this was intended to be a series but the publisher nixed it. That doesn't keep the author from honoring her readers by writing it and self-publishing.
I have been fascinated with the idea of reincarnation for a long time. However, this tale didn't resonate with me. I also guess that I didn't realize that this was just a first step in a series and that it would be left unresolved and open ended.
The premise of this book was great - a guy who retains memories of all his past lives must convince the girl of his dreams that she loves him too. The book is well written and manages to capture the imagination of the reader and carry them along an interesting journey of past and present. Fascinating for those who have a keen interest in past-lives, or perhaps just a mind open enough to consider the possibilities. The downfall of this book is the last chapter. At a time when loose ends should be neatly tied this book leaves the reader hanging in the most confusing kind of way. I have since heard rumblings that there is to be a sequel - and all I can say is I hope so. The way this was one ends leaves you unsatisfied to say the least. My preference with book series is to wait until they're all complete and start then ... I find it easier to follow the flow this way. I wish I had known from the get-go that this book wasn't 'finished' and I wouldn't have bothered to start.
This was a good read. It asks a lot of questions about having more than one life. But, it gives few answers. The ending leaves things up in the air. Will Daniel and Lucy ever be together for more than a day or two? How will Lucy manage with a baby if Daniel does not return? Perhaps the whole ending is set up as a cliffhanger to make room for a sequel. I wanted some closure and didn't get it.