Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

Title: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
Author: M.G. Buehrlen
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: 4 March, 2014
Source: Strange Chemistry via NetGalley. Thank you!

Goodreads rating: 4.14 out of 5.00 (50+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

Review by Nara

   This is the way my story begins. Not with a bang but a whimper. Nothing more than a calm voice, a careful smile, and a pair of spectacles perched on the tip of a thin nose.
   But don't let that deter you. You'll be happy to know a bang comes in the end.
Really? Is there really a bang at the end? Because if there was I didn't really notice it. Maybe it's just that I can't remember it. In fact, I can't remember quite a few aspects of the book, least of all the ending. I can't even say that it's the book amnesia kicking in because I read the book literally only last night. I think, in this case, unfortunately, the book just isn't particularly memorable.

If we go to some positive aspects of the book, I can definitely say that I really like the narrative voice. It sounds like the narrator is speaking directly to the reader, and while it's a style that probably wouldn't work in every case, it works very well in this one. This is probably why I thought that the book was going to go quite well towards the start. Our protagonist seemed pretty interesting, our storyline engaging and the writing of fairly high quality. However, the book then took a turn into the realm of meh.

Something that maybe annoyed me a little bit was that if Alex has fifty six lifetimes to be able to explore, why are we only allowed to see two or three of them? And I have to say, while reading the first of the lifetimes (not including her "current" life), all I could think was "what is the point of this book?" Instead of action and adventure (which for some reason, was what I was expecting- something similar to All Our Yesterdays), we get our main character going on a first date with someone in a past life. An instalovey date. A, frankly, boring date. Even when she travelled into other past lives, it still wasn't too interesting to read about.

In terms of the main plot, the big twist was pretty dang obvious. Really, even the main character should have been able to see it coming, it was so ridiculously obvious. Actually, pretty much everything in the book was predictable, be it the big twists or the minor twists.

I'm not too sure whether I'll really bother continuing on with the series, to be honest. Mostly because I don't really care what happens to the characters. I don't care whether justice is served in terms of the villain and I don't give a crap what happens in terms of the romance. Make of that what you will.

It was okay

Overall: 6/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5