Adventures in Books… The Fifteen Lives of Harry August

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“Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No 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.

Until now.

As 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 a message.’

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 was a bookclub choice and I don’t think I would have chosen it otherwise, but I did enjoy it. I never know with bookclub choices whether I am going to like them and I do tend to struggle through them more often and not. I want to widen the genres of books I read and this is the best way for me to do this. I also want to improve the way I think about and then review books and talking with the fellow members of bookclub helps with this.

This book has a strange concept – a man lives and dies and then lives the same life again and again, but can change what he does, as he remembers previous lives. I was not sure how this was going to work, but somehow it did. I’m not one to pick holes in the whole time travel (sort of) concept, but I felt it didn’t leave huge gaping gaps or jump to different scenarios without thought. It felt overall like it tied together.

I ended up liking the concept and also the main character of Harry August. I think it helped he remembered everything about previous lives and always seemed to try and do something different or better with each next life he had.  I felt he learnt from his mistakes and that helped him when someone wanted to change the world and destroy it.

I felt the middle of the book dragged slightly. However after talking with bookclub a few people said this may have been deliberate as this part was all about the Harry 5th to around 10th life and you could sense he was bored with the repetitive nature of his situation. Meeting the Cronus Club kept the story flowing for me to a degree, but I felt it did not pick up momentum again until that last fifth of the book, which was when I felt it finally knew it’s direction and was building up to the finale.

Overall this was an enjoyable and different read. It can come across as more science fiction than it actually is, but when reading it stays very much in the real world, which makes it more accessible to the reader I think. I don’t think I would read this book again, but I would recommend it to other people as a good read with an interesting concept to follow.

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