The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
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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 received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare was an interesting book to say the least. There were some things that nagged on me but in the end, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. I suppose I am being generous with my rating but I cannot bring myself to lower it because most of the things that bothered me didn’t have a major effect on my reading experience.
“I liked being me. I liked being invisible. Nerd glasses and all.”
Alex is not a wowza female lead. I spent huge chunks of the book wanting to bang her head on a wall and cringing at her stupidity but as the book progressed I started to see that the author did this on purpose. I am not sure whether we’re meant to like her (I for one wasn’t her biggest fan). She seems to be this girl who would change herself to be popular, does not think twice about the consequences before doing something and can be rather self-centered but as the book progresses she changes. She start’s growing. A little taste of popularity shows her it’s probably not for her and she stops not listening to Porter. She realizes the importance of what he has to say. So I feel like perhaps this was done on purpose, this whole book is about her getting use to the idea of being a Transcender, it’s a learning process where mistakes are made (albeit HUGE ASS ONES). I only hope that she has learned from her mistakes and will improve a whole lot in the sequel.
What I really did not like about Alex was this:
“Jensen, if you haven’t figured out by now that most girls are shallow, shallow creatures, then there’s no hope for you. They hate other girls for far less than that. Trust me.”
Excuse me? Thankfully that only happened once and was right near the end so even my riled upness due to the offensive quote couldn’t really change how I felt but I really hope that she doesn’t repeat her mistake in the sequel. I fucking hate the whole speshul snowflake MC thing. Yeah NO. Most females I KNOW LIKE EACH OTHER AND ARE NOT FUCKING SHALLOW. We are all human beings and should be treated equally and I don‘t understand what gives this MC the right to judge other girls when she herself made certain mistakes all because of a guy. Then there was also the weird text talk. Do the teenagers of the world really need to show everyone how we communicate? Again, this was a rare occurrence and so it didn’t grate on me too much.
One of the things I really enjoyed was the whole past life aspect. Alex was a different person in each of her lives. She loved different people, had different personalities, different skills, different social status’ and to a certain degree different appearances. I really enjoyed how there wasn’t some one guy she’s been in love with her whole 57 lives. While she was those people in her past lives, she is no longer that person. She doesn’t have the memories. Her past selves are individuals and not one huge identity that is her.
This leads us to the world building, which it pains me to say, sucks. It was a former science geek’s worst nightmare. It lacks substance. Hell the details were explained away by them ‘flying over’ the MC’s head. Wonderful aien’t it? And I was so confused by some of the explanations; it took me almost until the end of the book to kind of figure out what was going on. With that said, the time travel bits were very enjoyable. They were well written and they worked, which was why I didn’t dismiss this book due to poor world building.
The same goes for the plot. If you were to stand back and ‘view’ the book, you would notice that nothing major really happened. It’s a pity but I think we’re going to get a show down in the next book (unless it turns out to be a trilogy). It’s not that the plot is particularly weak; it’s just that the focus is on the time travel bits. Her performing missions and her realizing the huge mistake she has made. The whole book is about character development with its and bits of plot mixed in. And even though it shouldn’t, it works.
We did get some peaks of the antagonist. Sneak peeks being we are told why he is evil but have yet to see him in his evil glory. I am not sure how I feel about his story (the usual, started off as a good guy got carried away and is now evil) but we’ll see how things play out in the sequel.
The relationships with her family aren’t important in this book. At all. They don’t play a major role in the scheme of things but I liked how the author didn’t throw in the absent parent syndrome or bad siblings or anything of the sort. Her family loves her (although Claire, her younger sister, can be a huge pain) and she loves them. What was really interesting was her relationship with Porter. Porter is an old guy and NOT a potential love interest and I did like watching their relationship develop. It’s obvious he cares for Alex but it takes Alex a shit load of time to realize that he isn’t trying to ruin her life and it’s kind of sweet when they get past all that misunderstanding.
The book ended on a very high note, it’s a good way to prolong the suspense but I am not sure how it would work out for the sequel. Is she planning to reveal things in the beginning or is she going to make us wait until the end? If she does the latter, I SHANT BE HAPPY.
You have to be very open minded before going into this book, I know a couple of people didn’t enjoy it and it’s easy to see why. I’d recommend this book to those who are willing to take risks to enjoy a book (risks include poor world building, lack of substantial plot, annoying characters). It seems a lot to put up with and had I known all about this before diving in, I probably would have avoided the book but I didn’t and had a great time.