Review:The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare By MG Buehrlen

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Publisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date:
ISBN: 9781908844941
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.9/5.0

Publisher Description: 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.

Review: Why o’ frickin’ why do publishers put bad cover-art on the best novels? Especially Angry Robot, who has the best cover art of anyone. How did AR fall down on this one. It looks “The Ring” movie poster.

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This one was up there with one of the best YA novels I have read since starting online reviews. Alex Wayfare is a freakin’ gem of depth and color. You feel her angst, worry, anger, love…all of it. The author does a spectacular job of letting you into her psyche. Not only are you woven into the initial pain of Alex’ existence but grow with her burgeoning self-realization. You get to experience her growth as an individual whose self-esteem begins to flourish.

The story-line is fascinating. There has been quite a few novels that look at reincarnation as a vehicle, but none that I know of that address the theory of “walk-ins”. Walk-ins are supposedly souls that can enter a person who wants to move on. In this case, Alex has had many lives, and in her current “base-reality” can enter any of those lives. There are possible history altering ramifications if she impacts that reality adversely. She walks through limbo at will and can choose which past life she wants to enter. Once she descends into her past life, she has rules or sideboards to adhere to. No sex, killing etc. She can retrieve any skills (physical or mental) acquired in past lives and apply them to her base-reality.

There is this universal “Good vs. evil” pattern that the author pulls off quite nicely. No one is perfect on the good side, and the evil is humanistic and believable. Everyone is flawed, yet strives to accomplish the best they can even in the face of failure. This author mixes inner and outer dialogue with precision, so you are never bogged down with bovine ruminations but are elevated with movement that is transposed on those emotive exchanges.

The writing is superb as is the character development. The story-line will rivet until the wee hours of the morning, and thankfully, the novel is longer than most so you can make the enjoyment last a little longer. I want more of this story and more of this author.

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