The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
by MG Buehrlen
Genre: Historical, Paranormal YA
Excerpt: No | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Libbie | Source: NetGalley
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.
But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.
It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.
I knew going in that THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE was probably going to mess with my mind, and in that respect, it didn’t disappoint. Time travel is always going to make for a complex tale that’s going to have you bending your brain around to make sense of who’s where…and when.
For all her self-deprecation, I liked the main character. Alex has a biting sense of humor and just enough snark in her thoughts and dialogue to occasionally have me laughing out loud. The secondary characters fleshed out the story well, but none of them were as strong as Alex herself. Possibly Porter for all his secrecy. That secrecy, thought, is one of the serious issues I had with THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE.
I understand the way the world-building works in the story, the Descenders, the Transcenders, and Alex’s past lives…or at least, I understood it well enough. But when a story centers so much on such a complex level as time travel, there were times it felt like too much. Alex’s lives, the conspiracy with the bad guy, the connection with other Transcenders as well as Alex’s current life and everything going on there.
One other smaller problem is more of a pet-peeve I’ve held for a while – the all-knowing character who deliberately keeps the main character in the dark about information they need to know…and then get angry with them when their own ignorance gets them into trouble. I understand its part of the mystery of the story and going for the ah-ha moment; it still irks.
Those two things aside, I’m still very intrigued by the story itself and plan to read the next book in Alex Wayfare series. That might have something to do with a rather large cliffhanger, but I also want to know more about Alex’s life, past and current, what happens with the fight against the bad guy…and whether or not she’ll find what she expects.
- The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
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About the author
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012