Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August 

Help void friends! Happy Wednesday! A busy day in a busy week, this has been. I finished this book on Monday I believe but am just now getting around to posting the review. 

Pre-reading stuff: If I remember correctly, I don’t think anyone recommended me this book. I’m almost certain I found it through my Goodreads recommendations page. So heading in, I had no word-of-mouth idea what the book was about. 

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a fiction novel by Claire North. 15 Lives starts off slow. The first one hundred pages are pretty crucial for world building purposes. Harry August has the unique ability to live over and over again. Eventually, he meets people like him. One person like him warns him that the world is going to end, and it’s up to him to stop to it. This is the main plot of the book follows the decisions he makes and the consequences those decisions bring. 

We learn about Harry August and essentially the entire details of his first six lives. His later lives, we learn important details from and not the entire depths of. 

Harry has a convoluted origin. He is born a bastard to a woman who died in childbirth. Shortly after, he is adopted by a couple who are groundskeepers for the family of the man who is his biological father. Harry’s first life is largely unremarkable. He dies an old man, alone and widowed, from an illness. Then, he is born again. At the exact same time, into the exact same circumstances. 

One particular quote stands out to me. 

“What is the point of me? 

Either to change a world – many, many worlds, each touched by the choice I make in my life, for every deed a consequence, and in every love and every sorrow truth – or nothing at all.” 

I thought the concept of this book was clever. Insanely clever. It challenges not quite the concept of time, but how we perceive time and reality. Is it singular? Do multiple realities exist at once? Parallel ones? At times, I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. Other times, I found the prose to be kind of filler like and boring. All through out, I found Harry remarkably fascinating. I could truly sympathize with him. Even when the story was dragging, I found myself rooting for him. 

Ultimately, this book gets a three out of five stars for me. I loved the concept. The ending was satisfying and neatly written, in a very clinical way. I found large sections of the plot heavy and too purposeless. 

So that’s it for Harry from me, void. Thanks for reading. Today I finished What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera which was excellent, so be expecting that review soon. I’m also reading Giant Days by John Allison which is a lot of fun. 

B/n: As always, feedback is welcome. If you’ve read any of these books, let me know! I’m on Goodreads if you’d like to keep up with me there. 

Happy reading, void! 

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