Thursday, 26 November 2015

Book Review - The Next Together by Lauren James

The Next Together

(The Next Together #1)

Author: Lauren James

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Time Travel, Historical Fiction. 

Published: September 3 2015

Pages: 356 pages (Paperback) (Walker)

Read: November 2015

Rating: 3 Stars

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...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

Book 49/60 - 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge

The Next Together was a debut of 2015 that I was extremely looking forward to. The concept was interesting, the cover was stunning (definitely one of the best covers of this year!) and I was just really excited to read it. 

But unfortunately when I did start to read this book, it all went down hill and even though I really wanted to love this book, I simply just found it ok.

The Next Together started off with a bang! After all it starts off with a murder for crying out loud and then falls to the main timeline of futuristic Katherine and Matthew from the year 2039. 

It was the different time zones that brought me to this book in the first place. I wanted to see how this story would be told and it was with this feature that I hit my first bug. The different times, I felt, didn't seem to have any order to them whatsoever. We start jumping from different time zones and just continue to jump over and over again. I felt like we were just told the stories from each time with no overlapping or entwining of the stories at least not till the very end.

Another aspect of this that I found to be a tad bit too unrealistic was the fact the Katherine and Matthew kept their exact full names and personality in each time. They were all also relations of each other... Somehow for me that just didn't work. 

I really enjoyed reading about both of these characters though and I loved all the different times especially the more historical ones. So it wasn't for me the story or the characters that really let me down, it was how the story was told. 

There were also little snippets of diaries and notes and such mixed in with the prose of this novel. But after reading the likes of The Dead House and Illuminae, these snippets just didn't seem to work here in this novel either. 

And finally there was that big reveal as to why they kept being reincarnated which was a big let down. I was left just thinking 'seriously, this is why you two have kept being reincarnated and then you go and screw it up anyway...' I really felt annoyed at this fact and it was just a step too far for my liking of this book to go. 

Another step too far was those little sentences in the middle of the story, 
'First contact established in time-landscape 1854', 
like what exactly are these? They just made me so confused because obviously there must be someone running the show here but why and who? These were answers that were just not answered and another frustration I had with this book.

I am so sorry for the ramblings of this review because there is seriously no coherence behind this at all but overall I gave this book 3 stars because I thought it was just ok. I liked the characters and the timelines but I thought the story was executed quite poorly and just wasn't to my liking. There is a sequel coming out next year to The Next Together called The Last Beginning. I am sure that I will not be picking this up because I'm just going to leave this book here with the ending that I got (which does work as a standalone, in my opinion).

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