Title: The First Fifteen Lives Of Henry August
Author: Claire North
Publication Date: April 8th, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Rating: Three Stars
Summary: The extraordinary
journey of one unforgettable character - a story of friendship and
betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable
march of time.
Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.
matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry
always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a
life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.
Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his
bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says. 'I need to send
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what
he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a
future he cannot allow.
This is a twisty, intriguing
tale that delves into the concept of past lives and how they can impact
what it means to be human and the world itself.
When I first
chose this book from Netgalley, I thought that I was in for something
along the lines of Groundhog Day, except more serious. On the very
surface, that's what this book is like, but it delves so much deeper
This book is rich in history and intrigue, spinning
out a story of people connected across the centuries and the constant
struggle that humans have to learn more, to advance, to change the world
around them. It's a story of how the little choices we make along the
way shape who we are, guide us along our paths through this life.
found the concepts in this book incredibly fascinating. I don't think
I've ever come across anything that looks at the idea of multiple lives
in quite the way that this book does, and the way the author weaves her
tale is very indepth and at times, mind-boggling. You definitely have to
be prepared to think in a non-linear fashion to understand some of
stuff that goes on in this book!
The history is rich and a lot
of big events are touched on by the nature of the book, so if you love
stories that are embedded in history and shaped around human action,
then I think you'll quite enjoy this book. There's a lot of plotting and
sneaking around and covert actions, which was fascinating, though I did
wish that some of it was spelled out a bit more and delved into, rather
than just told to us. Show, not tell!
I wish there had been
more attention paid to the background characters in this book. We get to
know two rather well, but everyone else fades in comparison and I think
that prevented me from connecting with Harry and what happens to him as
deeply as I could have. There were moments when I was disturbed and
moments when I was amused, but I didn't feel particularly sad at any
point, or moved, and that's too bad considering the potential of this
Some may find the events of the book confusing, as well. I
know that I would have preferred it a bit if it hadn't jumped around
quite so much, it made following the plot a bit tricky at times because
we'd go from one situation to the next, and have to recall something or
someone we'd read about earlier in the book. Harry encounters numerous
characters and if you're like me and don't necessarily have a great
memory, this might pose some difficulty for you. Trying to keep track of
the various timelines and lives proved to be difficult, as well.
all's said and done I enjoyed the book, though. It was an interesting
read with enough tension and spice to keep me reading. I just wish that
it had a bit more emotional depth.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in return for an honest review.