Monday, June 23, 2014

Book review: Across Eternity

Across Eternity is.... something. It's a beautiful love story, written by Aris Whittier. But it's not a typical love story. It is the story of soul mates Logan and Amber. It begins with Logan spotting Amber as he's driving down the street in the California coastal town he lives in. She is walking into a restaurant, and the prologue ends with the words "It's really her." Then the first chapter begins with the first time Logan meets her, when he is three years old.

Warning: This will be a bit spoilery, but there is no way for me to talk about this book otherwise.

Logan has a best friend, who no one else can see. She is a little girl that is his constant companion, playing together and reading books together. She is there for him through the difficult times in his life. Then, when Logan is ten, she tells him she's about to be born into a body, and she won't remember him. He is special, she tells him, because he can see her when not many other people can, and he will remember her. She, however, won't be able to remember him. When he is fifteen, he starts dreaming about her, but as a partner, lover, spouse, instead of just as a friend. He goes to college, earns several degrees, and travels the world repeatedly.

But I'm getting ahead of the story. He gets a table at the restaurant she entered, because it turns out she's a waitress there. He watches her for a while, then convinces the manager to let her join him and they talk for two hours. She things he's familiar, but can't place him. He knows who she is, and they have a connection that confuses her as it thrills him. She later finds out he owns the restaurant, along with several others, and gets angry, thinking he's playing a game to find a girl to have some fun with. They end up talking all night after she confronts him, and start to spend more time together. He knows she is his soul mate, the spirit of his childhood, and knows from his dreams that they have always been together, married in many past lives. She can't understand the connection and familiarity she feels with him, but the memories of him that haven't happened convince her to give their relationship a try.

He tells her that all his degrees were killing time, and his world travels were searching for her. He knew when she was born, when he was ten, but not where or in which body. He was shocked to learn she lived in the same town as him. She meets his family, and eventually leaves her waitressing job and they travel together for a while. Before they start traveling, he reveals a secret to her: he is going to die soon. He insists he is not sick, and definitely not suicidal, but he just knows his time is near. He had been waiting for her since he was ten, and now that he found her he is sure it won't be much longer. They end their trip in Ireland, since she mentioned once she'd always wanted to visit there. He surprises her with a cottage, and proposes over dinner at a local pub. A judge is dining the same night and marries them on the spot.

A few weeks after returning from their travels, he begins having strange symptoms. Dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and then he passes away in his sleep, holding onto Amber as he goes. Heartbroken, she calls his family. When they arrive, his mother tells Amber that when Logan was four he was diagnosed with a rare, terminal disease. His insomnia, and his intellect (he began college at age 13) were caused by the disease. The doctors had predicted he'd die by the age of 12, but he always told his mother he would live until he found his mate. He made it possible for Amber to fulfill her dreams of going to college and becoming a doctor. The book ends ten years later, with Amber watching the sunset from the balcony of a restaurant they loved, and being addressed as Doctor Richards.

What I liked: This was a beautiful story. Logan and Amber have something special and it's easy to see. I loved Logan's relationships with his mother, sister, and nephew. I also liked the book's way of viewing death: everyone will die, so there is no need to be afraid. Instead, live life fully and without regret.

What I didn't like: The mystery, unnamed terminal illness with no symptoms other than genius and insomnia. It's reminiscent of the John Travolta movie Phenomenon. Also, I was getting a City of Angels feeling from the book. so the ending did not really surprise me.

Overall, I give the book four stars.

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