Endless - Amanda Gray

First, let me say that I received a copy of Endless by Amanda Gray from NetGalley and I’d like to thank those involved for giving me a chance to read and review this book.

 

Short review:

Endless has an appealing plot and likable characters, but there’s so much going on in this book that it starts to feel crowded. Though a bit redundant at times, the writing is solid. It’s a refreshing spin on YA paranormal romance, though it’s not completely free from tropes that litter the genre. If you have an interest in Russian history and past lives, this might be a good read for you.

 

 

Longer, spoiler filled review:

 

 

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The idea of a character being able to touch a person and see their past lives sounded amazing, but these powers barely even come up throughout the text. Exploration of these powers alone could have made the book, but instead we get bullies, a dead mother with dark secrets, not one but two Mysterious Boys from her past life, a magical music box that lets you regress through past lives, a stalker cult, an abusive father subplot, unresolved issues from past lives, time travel, parallel timelines, ley lines with barely any explanation of what they are (I’m lucky to have heard about them before this book), and the main character happens to be the reincarnation of a Russian princess.

 

There’s so much going on in this book that I actually forgot she had any sort of powers.

 

The writing is solid, though there are some scenes and conversations that go around in circles and could have easily been cut. The first few chapters are amazing, building tension and creating a mystery that is truly intriguing, though that aura doesn’t carry throughout the whole book. The scene depicting the Romanov assassinations is amazingly done and haunting.

 

The book is very self-aware, too. It knows the tropes found in YA paranormal romances these days, mainly love triangles, insta-love, and helpless women. At points, these tropes are addressed directly with comments of the main character not believing in love at first sight until now and how she’s not a “…helpless-female-who’s-nobody-without-you” (location 3730). At the same time, she’s utterly useless by the end of the book at the thought of separation from her lover and repeatedly it’s said that she belongs to her love interest, owned by him. To be fair, however, she’s definitely not as helpless as other YA heroines can be -- she takes initiative to figure out the mystery and she does help save her love interest.

 

Perhaps the main major issue I have with the book is actually something very small within the context of the piece. It comes up rather casually that people who have suffered traumas/traumatic deaths in a previous life suffer from things like anxiety, depression, and generally you’re not “exactly the happiest, most well-adjusted person on the planet” (location 5703). That bothers me for reasons I can’t exactly put into words. I don’t think it’s the idea that past life trauma begets mental issues, but that it so casually whitewashed over every single instance of mental disorders.

 

Generally, the book has flaws, but the writing is solid and hints of something great, it just doesn’t reach it quite yet.

 

(show spoiler)