A Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

It’s book club day!  Which means I liked my first meeting enough to go a second time.  Would you look at me just voluntarily going to social gatherings by myself without knowing a single person.  Who am I?  And is this what they call “personal growth”?

This month’s book was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (<– the author’s pen name!) and though the synopsis on the back cover had me prepared to read a more serious book version of Groundhog Day, it turned out to be much more thought-provoking, substantial and complex than Bill Murray waking up on Groundhog Day over and over and over again.

IMG_7745Quick Plot Overview: Harry August is a member of the Cronus Club, a group of unique human beings that are reborn to the same place and time every time they die.  The eventual crux of the story is his mission to find the other Kalachakra (that’s the technical term for his species) that is responsible for speeding up the evolution of technology and causing the end of the world sometime in the future.

Wait, WUUUUUT?

Yeah, I know, it’s kind of confusing and kind of hard to wrap your head around at first, but that’s kind of what makes it such a cool and interesting book!  Also, I think I used up my KIND OF quota in that last sentence…  The book is on the longer side of things, but I found it surprisingly easy to whip through because it’s such an imaginative concept and North has a total handle on the boundaries of that concept.  And though the climax of the book doesn’t seem to come until later on, just hearing about Harry’s different lives is plenty attention-holding.

My one complaint is that for being a longer book and really taking its time with the set up, the ending seemed a little rushed.  Otherwise, I really really enjoyed this one!  Anything science-related is pretty over my head but I didn’t feel like that really made a difference in my overall understanding of the plot.  One last word of caution: if you actually think about the concept of re-starting life in the same place every time after you die, your brain will explode.

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