Review of ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August’ by Claire North

Harry August coverI listened to the audiobook version of this book. I’m not sure it was the best way to read this book as most of it is written in quite a dense monologue so the audiobook is just a man droning on about his life (or lives in this case) which can become quite tedious. There’s not enough variation or dialogue to make it suited to the audio form.

The book itself has a very interesting, if not a little mind-boggling, premise. Harry August is a man who on his death is reborn as a baby and lives his life again with the accumulated memories of his previous lives. In one life, on his deathbed, a girl comes to him to tell him the world is ending faster than it should and he must find a way to figure out in his future lives what is causing the future to go wrong.

This is an amazing hook, but there is quite a lot of meandering and switching back and forth through Harry’s various lives before we get to the actual discovery of what is the problem is and his attempts to reverse this. Sometimes I just wished Harry would get to the point or follow through one train of thought to move the story along. This was probably exacerbated by listening to it as an audiobook, which left me with the impression ‘this man really loves the sound of his own voice’.

Claire North is an incredibly talented writer to be able to make this book work with its inter-woven timelines, clever premise and complicated science. At some times I did find myself questioning the basic time-travel premise, but if you just go with it, this is an impressive and interesting read.

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