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The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare…

The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare (Strange Chemistry)

by M. G. Buehrlen

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615194,696 (3.83)2



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I've read this book before but felt I needed to reread it before I started the second one to refresh my memory. It wasn't as good as I remember but still an enjoyable read. It's an interesting story with time travel and I'm interested to see how the story continues. ( )
  KeriLynneD | Dec 20, 2016 |
In the interest of full disclosure, you should all know that the author of The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is a dear friend of mine. We’ve met in real life and everything. However, as ever, I stand fully behind my opinion of the book itself and don’t consider the author of the book when I’m reading. Can I just say how glad I am when I legitimately enjoy the books of author friends? I always end up wanting to throw a party in honor of awkwardness averted. Right, focus! M.G. Buehrlen’s debut novel is a strongly-plotted, intricate time travel novel which takes the reader on epic journeys to the past.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Jun 29, 2014 |
THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE is M.G. Buehrlen's debut YA novel about a time traveling teen. Alex Wayfare is not your typical teen girl: she prefers the company of her family, she enjoys tinkering with machines of all types, and she has what she thinks are just eerily accurate visions of the past. Not knowing when those visions will happen have caused Alex to avoid close friendships, and since one of her younger sisters is dealing with a serious illness, Alex doesn't want to bother her parents with them even though she has a good relationship with them.

As the novel progresses, Alex learns that there's more to her visions than some weird déjà vu, and what follows is a well written and fast paced adventure with a strong female lead. Buehrlen writes the action sequences well, and her prose is often quite pretty--not what I was expecting in this genre, but it was welcome! The plot is carefully constructed, which is necessary in a book that features the twists and turns associated with time travel, and I found Alex's character to be really well done. Also, blessedly, the love story thread is not over the top. A big THANK YOU to the author for that!

I'm anxiously awaiting book two now since ALEX WAYFARE left me hanging. Hopefully THE UNTIMELY DEATHS OF ALEX WAYFARE answers all of the questions that won't leave my brain after finishing the first in the series. I'm bummed that I have to wait a year for it! ( )
  kalky | May 18, 2014 |
The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M G Buehrlen is the first book of hers I've read and I'm pretty sure it's her début.

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

I have mixed feelings about this one. The very start immediately got me interested with Alex playing a prank on one of her teachers. But she does whinge a lot, especially at the start, about how she has these weird flashbacks (which, to the reader, are obviously the point of the story) and thus it's better if she has no friends. I mean, I liked Alex overall, but there were times when she thought she was doing something special (by making herself an outcast) when really she was just being a teenager.

Then she meets Porter, who plays the role of adult mentor. Of course, he drags out his explanation of WTF has been going on as long as possible and manipulates her into working for him without fully understanding what she's actually doing. It's not all bad, but he is definitely on the morally ambiguous side of things. The revelations we get towards the end are partly not that surprising, once the climax begins, and partly satisfying. A mixed bag. Oh, I will add that I found some of the earlier "here is what's going on" explanations from Porter a little too info-dumpy for my liking.

Really, I found the first half of the book a little slow. I didn't quite share Alex's connection with 1920s Chicago, and it took a while before we learnt what and why was happening. And then once it was explained, the worldbuilding — or more specifically, the way Alex's (and others') abilities worked. Nothing major, but a few little "hang on, what about..." moments which I won't go into detail on because spoilers. They were ultimately minor enough to be overlooked, though.

I quite liked Jensen, Alex's only, albeit not straightforward, friend in the present. Her family were also all great characters. The only disappointment was that other than her family (which included her parents, two grandparents and two sisters), there were no female characters that she was on good terms with. All the non-familial "nice" characters were male. And at one point, she even says (out loud, to Jensen) that all other girls are vapid. Which is so not cool.

I'm not sure whether I'll read the sequel, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare. For much of the book I was thinking probably not, but then the climax piqued my interest and there were sufficient threads left hanging to keep me interested. And there are reveals left to come that I want to know if I've guessed correctly about. So I'll probably decide when it comes out. For now, I'm pencilling it in as a maybe.

I recommend The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare to YA fans looking for something a bit different. It's not perfect, and it has slow bits, but it wasn't bad. I think other people will enjoy some aspects, like the worldbuilding, more than I did.

3.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Apr 12, 2014 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hZ
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-hZ ( )
  Saretta.L | Apr 9, 2014 |
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For as long as Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Vivid visions that make her feel like she's really on a ship bound for America, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World's Fair. It isn't until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth; her visions aren't really visions. Alex is a Descender -- capable of traveling back in time to her past lives. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn't want Alex to travel again. And they will stop at nothing to make this life, her fifty-seventh, her last.… (more)

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