Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review - M.J. Rose's The Reincarnationist

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose
Published by: Mira
Publication Date: January 1st, 2007
Format: Paperback, 449 Pages
Rating: ★★
To Buy
Josh Ryder has been having weird spells ever since he survived a terrorist attack in Rome. He keeps slipping into the past, into what could only, logically, be his past lives. There is too much detail for any doubt to exist. He has sought out help from The Phoenix Foundation, who specialize in helping children understand their dreams which aren't really dreams but past life regressions. Malachai and his aunt take Josh on because he has such clear visions, one of them involving their building. A discovery in Rome sends Josh back there with Malachai. A Professor Rudolfo and his assistant Gabriella have uncovered an unknown tomb. Malachai and Josh hope that not only will this discovery help Josh, but perhaps will shed light on the mysterious memory stones, stones said to allow you to see all your past lives.

Josh is so haunted by his past that in a daze he wanders for miles till he stumbles on Professor Rudolfo's site hours before their meeting. There he finds Sabina... or the well preserved corpse of Sabina, his true love back when he was Julius, all those hundreds of years ago. Tragedy strikes the tomb again and Rudolfo is killed. Josh is arrested as the primary suspect but soon is released. While his time in Italy is at an end, the memory of Sabina still stirs him. He will find the answer one way or another. Back in New York he connects with Rudolfo's assistant Gabriella. Josh feels drawn to her, was she Sabina in a past life? Soon their knowledge of the memory stones lead to the kidnapping of Gabriella's daughter Quinn. If Josh and Gabriella can't solve the mystery that has baffled people for centuries, Quinn might die.

Part Indiana Jones, but more Da Vinci Code without any kind of narrative drive, this book was a struggle to get through. If I hadn't thrown out my back and been immobile, I don't think I would have finished it. Besides having the hardest title of a book to ever say, I dare you, try to say it out loud, this book left too many lose ends and me saying "well, that happened." While I don't look favorably on books like The Da Vinci Code, at least Dan Brown kept the urgency, kept the plot moving. For something so dire, for a race against the clock, the pace of the book was quite languid. Not to mention, the sub plot with Rachel and her Uncle Alex being so secondary until the end was pointless, hence eliminating them from the synopsis. Use them throughout OR don't introduce them till you need them. They felt like they where thrown on stage three acts before they where needed. I also felt that Josh's jumps into the past a little too cliche. "He smelt Sandalwood and Jasmine" now he gets a giant erection and can only dream of the dead girl. I kid you not, the biggest sex scene in this book, and there are a few, are between Josh, aka Julius, and the memory of Sabina, while in the shower.

If the story had remained in Italy, perhaps there would have been a better chance to connect with the narrative. But once they left Italy, I really couldn't care less. Then the fact she brings out the kidnapping trope... ug, just no. I will give her credit that in the last page she did give a little bit of a game changer, which was nice, but I knew who the bad guy was from the beginning, and all your running around and adding plots on plots and more and more stupid characters will not take away from the obviousness of everything. Again, a book not finished by the majority of my book club... but sub par writing with one too many cliches will do that, and, if the writer can't be bothered to finish the story and tie up the loose ends, the memory stones, etc, then why should a reader be bothered with finishing it? Also, nothing pisses me off more than an obvious lack of understanding something. M.J. Rose obviously doesn't understand that a yard is equal to three feet. He was so close, only 3 yards away... dood, that's not that close if you're in a tunnel and trying to get out. Also, if you are interested in something good about reincarnation, rent Dead Again and be done with it, don't read this book.


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