Title: Life A.D.
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Publisher: Month 9 Books
Pages: Paperback; 300
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Source: Chapter by Chapter Book Tours
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy powerful stories with vivid characters.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Welcome to Atman Station, where the only thing harder than getting out is getting through. A moment’s distraction sends Dez headlong into a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. Her newly departed soul is trapped between worlds, and the train that sweeps her up and delivers her to Atman Station won’t be giving her a ride to the sweet hereafter until she comes to grips with her abrupt end and lets go of the life she knew. The beautiful and enticing Atman City—a stunning metropolis strictly off-limits to underage souls—only makes things worse. Lured into the forbidden city where the souls of the wicked who walked the earth wait in limbo for their shot at redemption, Dez is quickly targeted by an infamous murderer’s promise of contact with the living, taking advantage of her desperate desire to save her suicidal mom. In the dark, far-flung corners of Atman City, Dez will learn frightening lessons—being dead doesn't mean she’s safe, and to survive the afterlife, she must let go of the life she no longer has.
This book is fascinating. I know that seems like an odd sentiment to start with, especially since this a book about the afterlife. Still, Life A.D. put so many things on the table, even from the beginning, that made me think. What if growth were a process that continues even after we die? What if there really is an afterlife?
We meet Dez in her most raw form. Newly passed, and waiting in limbo, she goes through what I feel any of us would go through in her situation. From confusion, to denial, to anger, she runs the gamut of emotions as she tries to come to terms with what has just happened to her. I was able to experience it all right along with her. See the emotions warring in her head, watch as she did things she knew she shouldn't. It was powerful, and it worked.
In fact, Reed creates an afterlife that I've never really seen before. Here, people aren't simply thrown into a purgatory they cannot escape from. It's not filled with souls who are mourning and wailing. No, here there's hope, there's growth. In a way, it's another life beyond the life they once knew. I was wholly impressed by the way that this setting was woven in with Dez's story. There's so much to discover. So much to experience.
The one thing that took me a while to adjust to, was the writing. It's first person, present tense and, while it definitely conveys Dez's emotions well, I found it tough to fall into at first. I'm sure there are readers who love this perspective. I don't mind it, but I don't love it either. Keep in mind this is a completely personal choice on my behalf. I can say that it does work well with this book. It allows the reader to fall into step with Dez and, as I said above, experience everything right along with her.
Honestly, I'd give Life A.D. a space on your reading list. Reed has built something beautiful in this book. Something that, despite being done before, shines in its own right. I was impressed. I have a feeling you will be too.
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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.