Friday 22 January 2016

The Next Together by Lauren James

How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...

First off, I loved this way more than I thought I would - like, I don't know if I could love this any more! It told of multiple Katherine's and Matthew's, falling in love and reincarnating, their story spanning over hundreds of years. We saw from a few of them, from 1745 to 2039, and had a few references to other incarnations like at Bletchley Park where they helped Alan Turing solve the Enigma Code and saved his life!

We follow all the versions of themselves along the same path, as they meet, fall in love and generally make an impact in their respective time periods. It was really interesting to see them all at the same time, I didn't think it would be set up like that, but I warmed to it immediately. Quite early on you get the sense of the overlap - like Matthew in the Crimea making a reference to Katherine's family from Carlisle, over a hundred years ago. I liked the implications of their actions impacting their later counter-parts and then later regaining their memories.

I loved each time period equally, surprisingly! Even as the story progressed and the mystery in the 2039 time-scape became dominant and the links between all the incarnations become clear, I still loved hearing from all of the versions of Katherine and Matthew. It also had an original place setting, the border between England and Scotland, and Nottingham - not a city UKYA is usually set in but really liked it - especially as the near-future time-scape had an independent Scotland, so being close to the border had political implications. 

Then there was the conspiracy angle with the coding and "intervention requested" when either Matthew or Katherine were in danger. This wasn't explained until the last few pages and even though I would have loved a bit more detail, in a way it fit; it felt like it had come round full circle. Cannot wait for the sequel though, I would love more of James's unique storytelling and hopefully some more answers!

Published 3rd Septmber 2015 by Walker.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a truly remarkable read - will have to check this out :) Great review