Grasping at Eternity was a difficult but engaging read. The thing with the book is, so many things happen that you can’t leave the book – I just had to finish it in one go. Though I found the book a bit difficult to follow at the start, with all the information overwhelming me, after about a hundred pages, I got the flow.
The book hits the ground running – the main character, Maryah, witnesses her parents and brothers being murdered by two strange men. She is also attacked but mangages to survive – thanks to Nathaniel, her soulmate and Krista, her cousin. She arrives at her godmother’s house and is finds them all a bit strange, but goes along with it because she doesn’t know what to do. Her life seems desolate, her cousin seems to want her to stay here and she has a major case of survivor’s guilt. Meanwhile, all the family members (it’s a big one) already know her from past lives and all are dancing around that fact that they all are supernatural souls, Elements- who can remember each of their past lives, have powers and are born in pairs, thus being soulmates. They reincarnate and chose their lives before being born, staying close to their kindrily. This all is not a spoiler since it appears like in the first few chapters itself – the primary reason I was so lost in the starting; the backstory and all the characters and powers were a bit tough to remember (I jotted down in a notebook to keep track – a first for me). So, Nathaniel is Maryah’s soulmate and the few times she sees him in her dreams, she thinks he is an angel of death; until she sees him for real and begins to doubt her own sanity. Her life is in danger as some evil Nefariouns (I found this name lame, btw) who are out for life for some reason – and it seems to be tied into why she willingly erased her memories before being born in this life. Her current-life-amnesia makes for intense situations, as the rest of the family knows her but can’t tell her as she might not believe them. Nate is tormented by the loss of his soulmate – if she can’t remember him, what hope does their love have?
In terms of plot development, most of the book deals with Maryah and her memories. The evil Elements are more or less in the back burner, not posing immediate danger but a definite foreshadowing is there. The situations are so well thought out and planned – I must commend the author for her excellent writing, start of the book excluded. As for the characters, Maryah came across a bit judgemental to me – she started making assumptions on the go and her instincts were so wrong; I didn’t even understand why she wanted to be friends with an ass like River, when she had so Faith and other members of the family. I get that he was the only one she could relate to, but come on, the guy was a class A jerk from the first line that dropped from his mouth. Nathaniel is the tortured hero – wishing desperately for his soulmate’s memories to be back; he was sweet, stalking notwithstanding but sparks were really needed. Their love development kind of lacked a bit, as they are reincarnated souls and all; I would have loved it better if he was trying to love her as she was in this life rather than the angst over her ‘hollowness’. When her memory came back, the ‘I love you’s came out so instantly. With so many characters into play in this book, it would be hard to pick one favorite, but I loved Carson – he was dropping so many hints, it was hilarious.
On the mythology of the book, well, since I do believe in reincarnation, I found it interesting how ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ theory was taken literally in this book but I didn’t really get the stars. Also, it wasn’t really explained that why are these souls picked – do they serve a higher purpose? I really hope the next book delves into the mythology a bit more, with the souls and what erasing its’ memories really mean.
Received a review copy from All Night Reads via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review