Book Review: Endless by Amanda Gray

5 Jan

Image**This review is based on a NetGalley e-reader copy of the book, which I received for free in exchange for an honest review.

Jenny has always had secrets. She can’t exactly tell people about her weird dreams, or the visions she sees when she touches people with her bare palms. So when she receives a message while using a Ouija board, she doesn’t altogether discount it. Then, she starts having dreams about Nikolai–and suddenly his image appears on all of her paintings. When she meets Nikolai in person, it seems impossible. But soon it becomes clear that their fates have been entwined, even across time and space… but will they be allowed to stay together?

Okay, so paranormal romance isn’t exactly my thing, but I requested this book due to the historical aspects of it. I remember reading the Time Traveler books by Caroline B. Cooney which had a healthy helping of romance as well as history, and this sounded similar.

I was surprised by how much I liked it. Set in modern times, it’s quite well written. The dialogue is spot on for teenagers (like, whatever, totally). MC Jenny was quite likable–a little weird, in need of some friends and acceptance, and just the perfect mix of “bothered by bullies” and “staying strong” that made her not too perfect and not too downtrodden.

The paranormal elements appeared to be well thought out and well mixed in. Jenny’s own abilities to see images when touching people barely came into play, but I suspect we’ll be hearing more about that in the sequel and it didn’t really bother me that we didn’t get to learn more. Time traveling and resurrection was explained and made believable within the context of the story, and the idea that there would be a society to control time travel was a great addition. As that female time warden said, just think of the mess the world would be in if time travel wasn’t contained!

So, I enjoyed all of those elements of the book. Not to mention the foreshadowing, and the way that everything came together, from Jenny’s mother’s death to Ben’s father’s domestic violence to the fireworks sitting innocently in the front seat of Ben’s car at the beginning, just waiting to be set off at the end… This is one of those books that you’d probably enjoy reading again, just to pick up on all of the little elements interwoven throughout.

There was just one thing. The romance.

I understood what the author was trying to do. The dreams that Jenny was having were supposed to introduce us to Nikolai and make us familiar with him and root for a romance between him and Jenny/Maria. I think where it fell short was that the dream sequences used the name Maria. I think this whole thing would have been more effective if it had been told in first person, so that “I” was both Jenny and Maria. Or, if Jenny had more awareness within the dreams, recognizing these feelings within herself, meeting Nikolai as herself.

As it was, Jenny and Maria felt like two entirely separate characters, not one character split across time. That made the relationship with Nikolai feel jarringly fast, unbelievable, and lacking in chemistry. I wished that Nikolai had more page-time so that we could get to know him better, more slowly; I wish that Jenny had denied her feelings for him longer; I wish that he had been willing to take more time to get to know her. Again, I understood what the author was trying to do, but I think in practice it fell short of the goal.

That said, this book was still quite enjoyable, and I can see it being a hit among teen girls. There was enough mystery, suspense, and magic to carry me past the questionable romance plot, and I will probably pick up the inevitable sequel to see where life takes the main characters next.

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One Response to “Book Review: Endless by Amanda Gray”

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  1. 2014: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 31, 2014

    […] Endless by Amanda Gray *** […]

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