Second Lives has an amazingly creepy cover and an intriguing blurb and when I sat down with it I knew it was going to be an emotionally intense read. The plot is about a group of four people who die, after all, but I wasn’t expecting the heavy blanket of sadness that was dropped over my head to stay there until almost the very last page.
Be warned if you’re feeling blue because this one may need to wait a bit but if you’re feeling too chipper give it a go but make sure you have no distractions and big chunk of time and maybe a notebook . . .
This book starts out telling the backstories of eight characters and five different timelines chapter by chapter. I’ve seen some people say they read like short stories and they do but they do eventually connect but it takes a while before that happens. There is a lot to absorb in the first half or so of the book. I took notes to keep everybody straight because I knew my faulty brain would never be able to keep up and I did find myself referring back to my notes to remind myself who was who. After the first half (or so) it was easy going and I no longer needed them but without them I would’ve been tripped up a time or ten.
The characterization here is incredible and the author really excels at breathing life into all of her people. I found it an easy read for that reason but it left me feeling blue the entire week of reading. It’s incredibly sad and lacks any sort of break from all of the gloom. Each situation is pretty terrible and heartrending for everyone involved.
This one is hard to review and even more difficult to rate. I’m going to settle on a three. It’s not a book I’d ever willingly read again because I found it incredibly depressing but it’s well written and fans of fantasy and reincarnation-type novels might feel differently.
*Thank you Flame Tree Press for the advanced readers copy!