Grasping at Eternity
By: Karen Amanda Hooper
(I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Goodreads Score: 4.12
My Score (Official): 4.00
My Score (Unofficial): 320 peacocks out of 400.
Highlights: Fantasy (my favorite! :D), Soulmates, Nice writing style
Lowlights: Some childish interactions, April, Awful nickname for main character (Ma-Ma for Maryah. Ack!)
Things to Note: Told from two main character’s point of views, both in first person.
Maryah and Nathan have spent countless lives together, loving each other as soul mates do, with their super powers and their kindrily (eternal family) at their sides. And then Maryah makes the ultimate mistake. On the brink of another reincarnation, she chooses to erase her memories. Nobody, including herself, knows why. Now, Maryah has lost the sparkle of memories in her eyes, she remembers nothing of Nathan, and her superpowers are nonexistent. She is born to a new family, many miles away from where her kindrily waits. But while Nathan watches from afar, heart broken, and her kindrily mourns both her lost and her decision, Maryah has no recollection of any of her previous lives, and grows up with her new, loving family.
One brutal night, Maryah’s whole family is killed, leaving her as the only survivor. Maryah moves to Sedona, Arizona where her godmother and her godmother’s family waits…where everyone seems to know her, and the amount of strange occurrences grows more frequent with every passing day. She has no idea that she has been reunited with her kindrily, just as she has no idea that the man who had her family killed is still out there, still looking for her. Now, as Maryah copes with her conflicted feelings for Nathan, and as Nathan races to track down Maryah’s would-be-murderer, Maryah must learn to believe in the fantastical things happening around her, just as Nathan must learn to believe there’s still hope left for his lost love.
So, it doesn’t take long for the plot of this novel to get going. Page 5 and all of the main character’s family are already dead. From there, the plot slows down, and it takes a while for the secrets and the truth to be revealed, which is frustrating for the reader, but necessary to build the misunderstandings that fuel the romantic tension. And speaking of romance…
The concept of soul mates speaks to the hidden romantic in everybody, and so I was intrigued from the start. However, Nathan and Maryah’s interactions just never had me wowed. I like Nathan himself (and his deep resounding love for Maryah), but whenever they spend time together, I get uncomfortable. I get that Nathan is devastated because Maryah chose to erase her memories and he’s technically lost his soulmate and all that, but the resulting character annoyed me with his hopelessness, and his sudden mood swings from detached to clinging. (Not to mention that one part with the hot air balloon! But I’ll leave that alone, as it’s a bit far into the book.) That said, I obviously liked this book, because I gave it a four star rating. And that’s because, despite my not loving Nathan and Maryah together, I just loved the way the book was written. It moved along at a nice pace, and was written really well, and there were lots of characters that I did love. Faith reminded me a little of Alice from Twilight, but unlike a lot of people, I liked Alice, and I like Faith with her upbeat bubbliness. I also liked River, boyfriend of Maryah’s friend, April, and potential friend/wants to hook up with Maryah person. He’s arrogant and he’s teasing and he’s dangerous, but I like him. April, his girlfriend, on the other hand…
Okay, no. Let me put it a different way. It’s not April herself I dislike (but I actually do dislike her, as well…) it’s her friendship with Maryah that confuses, bewilders, and irks me. At the very beginning April is pretty much the most cheerful person in the world. And it’s sincere. It’s sickening, because nobody acts like that. Nobody. Or, at least, nobody that would later get in a typically cliche fight with Maryah over River. The whole friendship was full of cliche and melodrama and make-ups and break-ups and was, without a doubt, the worst part of the book.
The best part, for me, was learning more about the reincarnation rules and how erasing works and what everybody’s powers was. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and this book didn’t disappoint. I will be reading the next book!
Prediction for Sequel: Maryah will learn things but wait two hundred pages to tell anyone about them. Nathan will look into her eyes and feel angsty.
What do you think? Do you like the concept of soul mates? Have you read any great fantasy books lately? Had any good tacos? Tell me in the comments! As always, thanks for reading.