I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The “Nine Lives of Adam Blake” was an interesting book. In the beginning, we start with a main character who isn’t necessarily that likeable. He’s not in a good place in his life and he’s obsessing too much over a woman, while getting drunk and not being particularly social.
Then, he dies. And that starts the point where he actually starts becoming more sympathetic. He goes back in time and is revived at age 12, remembering everything from a life where he died at age 30 and all of his regrets. The way he progresses from there makes a lot of sense. He’s confused about why he’s alive again. He has no idea how it happened or for what purpose. After awhile he makes choices differently, spends more time with his family, and avoids some of the decisions he regretted in his first life. On his thirtieth birthday he’s afraid that he’s destined to die – a fear anyone would probably have. But it comes and goes and he lives on.
In the end, though, that doesn’t work. He gets to the end of his life again, and though he lived much longer his second time around he realizes that he’s dying alone.
And he comes back again. His frustration at not understanding what he’s supposed to do is palpable. It’s easy to imagine that anyone would feel the way he does. He continues through life again, living and dying and trying to find solutions. Eventually, in one life he publishes a book that states everything that “is going to happen”, explains his situation, and asks if anyone has a solution. He becomes world famous for his predictions and ends up rich and famous. But here, he realizes that he might have a horrible choice to make. In a previous life, he had married Tamar and had a beloved son named David. Now, in this life, when he meets Tamar she has been in a relationship with someone else, and though the relationship didn’t work out she had a beloved daughter from it. The choices he makes in his next life may determine which child gets to exist, and it’s a difficult choice to have on his shoulders.
There’s more confusion because sometimes events happen that he doesn’t believe can be caused by his actions. In one life Tamar is never born, and he doesn’t understand why that would have changed.
The book works pretty well, because the protagonist’s actions make sense. After living several lives, it makes sense for him to write a book and ‘put it all out there’ in the hopes that he could find a solution. Finding out that he’s in one life without Tamar, he decides to commit suicide because “he’ll just come back again, anyway”. Wondering how he managed to change the world in a way that prevented her from being born plagues him. He goes through a lot trying to figure out his situation, and I was never left feeling, “Why doesn’t he try XYZ?”
The ending is bittersweet, but works. As it turns out, the theory is that he’s not being taken back in time so much as traveling through dimensions, essentially. What this means, though, is that in one of the worlds where he committed suicide, the world is continuing on without him and his sister and everyone will have to deal with his death, not understanding what happened. He also keeps reliving a fairly similar life, which I can imagine would get pretty old after awhile. He doesn’t get to see the distant future or past, and he’s constantly alone going through this. The book ends on a seemingly more hopeful note, where he’s come to terms with it and lives in the moment, but it’s hard to imagine a human living through eternity like this.
I’m not sure we got close to too many characters. Even characters like Tamar and Ruthie, I feel like I could only say a few lines about exactly who they are.
The book held my attention throughout and it gives people a lot to think about. It handles the subject well, and I didn’t feel like it overlooked obvious things for him to try. If the premise looks interesting to you, give it a read! I give it a 10/10.