Life After Life

LALbyKA

So, I’m a few years late to the party on this one. If you don’t already know, this book is about a girl named Ursula who can do something very strange. Every time she dies she is reborn with a niggling sense of déjà vu at certain points in her life. These moments have usually resulted in something negative in her previous life and thus Ursula makes different choices during each of her lives to change the future for the better (hopefully).

I’ll start by saying that I like this book. But, as you might guess, I also have some issues with it. I can see why many people find it repetitive because… well… it is. We see the same scenes (like Ursula’s birth) play out nearly word for word at times. Other times scenes are slightly different with a different choice being made or seeing the scene from another character’s point of view. But how else can you write a book about multiple lives without having some scenes replay? I am OK with this for the most part, but it is something readers should be aware of going in because at times it does feel like Ursula takes two steps forward and one step back.

Now onto my big complaints! For starters, the multiple lives idea is really interesting. It is what made me pick this book. However, the multiple lives and scenarios begin to pile up as the book goes on. This can be confusing. Remembering the current timeline’s events can get muddled up in past lives. I read this novel pretty fast so that could be part of it? Still, something for first time readers to be aware of.

I really like many of the characters in the novel. Some are more interesting and fleshed out than others, but I would say that overall they are done well. My problem is with Ursula. In her first few lives she is naive and almost a bit simple. As she dies and comes back she gains more confidence and is better at certain skills. It bothers me that she only grows as a character because she can die and be reborn. I know that rebirth and new choices are kind of the point of the novel, but something about that irked me. Why can’t she grow a little like everyone else who (presumably) can’t die and come back again?

This was an interesting read for sure and I would recommend it if my issues didn’t put you off. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending though. It felt a little hurried after such a long build up, but maybe I’m just being picky.

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