Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

 photo first15lives.jpgFirst Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

eARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This book has an original, unique premise that I haven't come across before - what if you were reincarnated every time you died, but reborn as yourself and retained your memories? Stuck in the same timeframe during each lifetime, but with the memories and experience to change your path however you chose? I found this concept fascinating!

Harry is a kalachakra, described as one who loops perpetually through the same course of historic events. Most of the kalachakra eventually discover (or are discovered by) the Cronus Club, a loosely organized group where the members help future generations deal with their unique situation. Harry is a little unique among the unique because he remembers everything. Called a mnemonic, the kalachakra who retain everything are considered not only rare, but also a little dangerous.

Most of the members of the Cronus Club are self-indulgent and unconcerned with the outside world. While there is a plausible explanation why they don't get involved in the big events (like killing Hitler), I couldn't help but feel they were frittering away this wonderful gift. What's the point of endless lives if you just spend them partying your time away? But that's a philosophical discussion best left for another day....

While the story bounces around a bit between Harry's different lives, I never had trouble following the plot and actually enjoyed connecting the puzzle pieces! Harry is an interesting character and made a good narrator, but this is one story where I wouldn't have minded multiple narrators to get other POVs about the life of a kalachakra.

Highly recommended reading for anyone in search of an interesting story! It was not only a good read, but left me wondering how I'd respond in a similar situation. I hope I wouldn't fritter my life away, but guess I'll never know. Unless that sense of deja vu means.... 

Rumor has it that Claire North is a pseudonym for an anonymous 'well-known' author and there will be an announcement on April 22 to reveal his/her true identity. I'm looking forward to finding out who it is so I can read all of their other books immediately!


  1. I think I have to check this one out. I'm curious who the author is though!

    1. Me too! I don't recognize the writing style, but the author is definitely talented so could be almost anyone.

  2. Ooohhhh my curiosity is piqued. I am curious to know who the author is! The story sounds fantastic.

    1. I really enjoyed this one, and it made me curious how I'd react to this type of immortality!