Friday, August 25, 2017

The Next Together by Lauren James, 2017

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on Goodreads 
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...

(356 pages)

I'd definitely heard of this basic scenario (two souls in love reborn again and again throughout time), but I love it so much I just had to request The Next Together. I was so excited when it came that I cracked it open that same day and read the whole thing by bedtime.

The sad thing is that it wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. And it's strange, because in some ways it lived up to my expectations: it features true love, multiple fascinating and under-represented periods in European history, drama and sacrifices galore.

But it was also a disappointment. Because I never really felt the connection between Katherine and Matthew, I was just told that there was this big special tie between them. And there was so much skipping around between time periods that I never really got invested in any of them. And the side characters were basically footnotes in the stories. And in at least one storyline, Katherine and Matthew are both a little too . . . promiscuous for my tastes.

Instead of being a beautiful epic love story about two intricate people throughout time, and the mystery of why they kept being separated from each other, The Next Together basically turned out to be four rather shallow romance novelettes about unremarkable people who are tied together by some funky time travel shtuff. And the time travel shtuff wasn't even explained in the end. I was prepared to be really mad about that in this review, but then I looked on Goodreads and found out that there's actually a sequel coming that will probably explain everything (though I don't think I'll read it). As an aside, the main character of this sequel is lesbian. I think that gives you a good idea of the author's outlook on certain things.

I did enjoy the storyline that was told entirely through notes between the two characters, though. They may have been rather naughty from time to time, but they were also so sweet and hilarious that I couldn't help but love them. I kind of want a whole book now just made up of the sticky-notes they sent each other via the fridge.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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