Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: The Next Together

The Next Together
(The Next Together #1)
Author: Lauren James
Published By:  Walker Books
Publication Date: August 20th, 2015
Page Count: 368 pages
Source:  Advanced review copy courtesy of the publisher
Audience:  Young Adult Sci-Fi/Historical

When I looked at the blurb and saw this was about a pair of lovers who are reincarnated and separated time and again, I was a bit worried it might be a bit like Daniel and Lucinda from the Fallen series, but I needn't have worried, The Next Together is a completely different concept. 

Kate and Matt meet at uni for the first time, but both feel there's something familiar about the other. When Kate googles Matt, she finds some strange coincidences. 

In a variety of times and places (18th century Carlisle, 19th century Crimean war, 21st century West Midlands) Katherine and Matthew meet, are drawn to each other, and are ultimately separated. We follow their story through Kate's eyes, but also through documents from the time, including journal entries, newspaper articles, blog posts and facebook statuses. It's clear that someone is monitoring the pair and directing them towards a particular objective, but what and who is a mystery. 

 I really enjoyed the way the story is structured. It moves between different lifetimes and we see how the two meet, how their relationship develops, and how it ends. The inclusion of primary sources adds to the central mystery - who is watching them, how are they controlling events, and why do they keep bringing these two together?

I read this over two days and when I put it down overnight, I actually had a dream about the characters. They totally got stuck in my brain and I needed to know what would happen to them. I loved finding out what happened in each lifetime. I also liked that they weren't exactly the same, sometimes they were slightly younger or older, sometimes the same age as each other. Sometimes Kate was taller, sometimes shorter, depending on nutrition and life circumstances. What was consistent was their attraction to each other, their sense of familiarity, and their tragic love story.

My only gripe with this book is that I like my ends tied up neatly, and while there's a clear conclusion here, there are still questions that remain unanswered.

In all this is a great debut that is well worth reading.

How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...

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