Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review: Endless by Amanda Gray

Endless by Amanda Gray
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC, 2013
Length: 269 pages
Source/Format: NetGalley / e-book

From Goodreads:
Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.

When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back.

While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.

My Rating:

Thanks to NetGalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. 

When I saw the cover to this book floating around NetGalley, I didn't think twice before requesting it. I'm always a sucker for a pretty cover design and Endless proved to be no exception. But, you know what they say: never judge a book by its cover. While Endless wasn't what I would call a terrible book, I was seriously wavering between giving it two or three stars until about the last third of the book. The plot was slow-going at first, and it took far too long to become interesting enough for me to become really invested in the story. I was intrigued by Jenny's visions and dreams of the past, but found the story surrounding her life in the present significantly less interesting--so much so that I ended up skimming through some of the duller parts. If I had to pick out the one thing that I think did this book the most disservice, it would be the third person point of view. I think the story would have been much more interesting had Gray written Jenny's perspective in first person, so we could get a better look into her personality, and saved the third person POV for the flashbacks (or just left it out entirely).

The best parts of Endless were the flashbacks and the exploration of Jenny's relationship with Nikolai, her lover from a past life. I didn't read the summary before starting the book so the whole Romanov reincarnation thing came as a total surprise to me. I thought it was interesting that we got the story of a different Romanov sister, Maria--most stories mainly focus on Anastasia, so it was nice to see a fresh perspective. Nikolai and Maria's relationship was very sweet, and it was truly heartbreaking to read what eventually happened to them both during the Revolution. That relationship carried over nicely to the present-day story, and I liked how Gray made a point of having Nikolai say he loved Jenny not just because she was Maria, but because of who she was in the present.

"The body is just a vessel, but our spirits are energy. They go on and on. And they remember."

Another part of the story I was unsure of at first was Jenny's friendship with Ben Daulton. In the beginning, he comes off as the typical asshole-bad-boy-who-will-probably-later-turn-out-to-be-the-love-interest kind of character, but I pleased to find out that Gray took a different route with Ben. Although Ben is an important character in both Jenny's current and past lives, Gray didn't drag him, Jenny, and Nikolai into yet another infamous YA love triangle. Even after we found out who Ben was in his past life and how he was tied to Maria/Jenny, I still wasn't really sure why he needed to be in the book. Not until the later chapters, that is. I liked his redemptive story arc, and was glad he and Jenny were able to remain friends. I just hope they stay that way (though at this point I'm not entirely sure a future love triangle can be ruled out…).

While I've already mentioned I wasn't impressed with the beginning of Endless, the last third of the book ended up redeeming the story for me. Things finally started to get exciting, and as Jenny and Nikolai were racing to find a way to stay together, I couldn't put the book down. Things wrapped up nicely while leaving just enough mystery for a sequel. I'm looking forward to seeing how Jenny and Nikolai will reunite!

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way, it was okay with some weird stuff
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings


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