Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose

The Reincarnationist is the first in a series of books by M.J. Rose about reincarnation. I read it several months ago, but I held off reviewing it when I signed up to host a stop on M.J. Rose's blog tour for the second book in the series, The Memorist so I could review both books together. (Read my review of The Memorist and interview with M.J. Rose tomorrow!)

The Reincarnationist begins with photojournalist Josh Ryder experiencing memories of someone else's life in fourth-century Rome after he was injured in a terrorist bombing. Uncertain why he is having visions from 1,600 years ago, he seeks the help of the Phoenix Foundation, an organization that aims to help children plagued by memories of past lives. Josh's quest to learn the meaning of these memories leads him to Gabriella Chase, an archaeologist who helped uncover a tomb where a pagan nun known as a Vestal Virgin was buried alive. I don't want to give too much away, but the story involves the hunt for memory stones, which are ancient jewels thought to bring the person who possesses them visions of all his/her past lives. The stones are very valuable; several people are after them in the book, and some would kill to have their powers.

M.J. Rose's fast-paced writing style draws you in from the first page, and she manages to weave a complex tale involving numerous characters in different periods of time without making it difficult to follow. Rose is brilliant at giving the right amount of information at the right time, which is perfect for someone like me who likes to be kept in suspense until the very end. While I personally do not believe in reincarnation, the storyline seems plausible, and Rose never forces a particular belief system on the reader.

I thought all of the characters were interesting and well developed, and each of their stories was intriguing. I particularly loved the story about Sabina, the Vestal Virgin in the tomb, and her forbidden affair with Julius, the pagan priest. Their story could have been a book on its own!

I've heard people compare The Reincarnationist to The Da Vinci Code, which I read quite awhile ago. I can see why such comparisons are made, specifically in the hunt for ancient relics that could change what people believe and put many lives in danger. Personally, though, I think The Reincarnationist is a better read, as Rose did a great job making me feel connected to the characters and pulling me right into the story. This wasn't a good book for me to read on the train/bus because I was so engrossed that I almost missed my stop on more than one occasion!

Read an excerpt of The Reincarnationist here.

The Reincarnationist also was reviewed by:

A Reader's Respite
You've GOTTA read this!

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I hope you all will come back tomorrow for my review of The Memorist, my interview with M.J. Rose, and a giveaway of two sets of the books!! "See" you then!

Disclosure:  I borrowed The Reincarnationist from the library.

22 comments:

Serena said...

Beautiful review...you have tantalized my taste buds for this read, which I have borrowed from you Muhahahaha!

I hoped to be equally engrossed...maybe I'll end up like that businessman we saw in Boston at Riverside station who went back to the rail yard with the subway car...only difference is I won't be sleeping.

Anna said...

Serena: Glad you enjoyed it! I can't wait for you to read it! I remember that guy!! We stood on the sidewalk waiting to see whether the train operator would wake him up!

Lenore said...

I missed my stop once reading a book and I had to pay a 40 Euro fine because I travelled past the zone I paid for. Our train ticket checkers will not accept ANY excuses - so I better be careful with this one :)

Literary Feline said...

Great review! I am looking forward to reading this one. It sounds so intriguing! I look forward to reading your review of The Memorist tomorrow.

LisaMM said...

Wow, it sounds so great!! Can't wait to read your thoughts tomorrow on The Memorist. Thanks again for hosting!!

bermudaonion said...

Better than The Da Vinci Code! Wow, that sounds great.

Sheri said...

I tagged you for a bookworm award. Check it out when you're bored.

Sheri

Dar said...

Great review Anna. I have been following these books around the blogging world hoping to score myself some copies. I'll definitely be back tomorrow.

Ladytink_534 said...

I have both books on my wishlist. They sound so unique and interesting!

Anna said...

Lenore: Ouch! I have no idea what 40 euros translates to in American dollars, but I'd hate to pay a fine of any price! I'd be afraid to read or fall asleep on those trains!

Literary Feline: If you like suspense, I think you'd like this one! And book two was just as good, if not better.

Lisa: You're welcome! I've had great experiences hosting so far!

Bermudaonion: Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy The Da Vinci Code. Though the movie wasn't so hot.

Sheri: Thanks so much! I'm a bit behind in blog reading and memes, but I will get to them soon!

Dar: Glad you enjoyed the review! I hope you get your hands on these books; they're worth it!

Ladytink: I hope you get a chance to read them! I enjoyed them a lot!

nbbaker1102 said...

I really liked both books. I'm going to review The Memorist on Thursday when MJ Rose stops by my blog. I look forward to reading what she says tomorrow on your blog!

Anna said...

Nicole: I'll be sure to stop by your blog as well! I'm a bit behind in blog reading, but I'll get there.

Fyrefly said...

I just mooched a copy of this one, so I'm glad to hear it's so absorbing!

Most of the time, I'm very glad I no longer have a long commute, but I do miss having those two periods of guilt-free reading every day.

Anna said...

Fyrefly: Hope you enjoy the book. I really don't know what I'd do without those few hours of uninterrupted reading everyday!

Shana said...

Anna, is it necessary to read these books in order?

Shana
Literarily

Anna said...

Shana: No, it's not necessary at all. There's only one character who plays a role in both stories, but he's not the main character in either book. The books each have a different plot involving different characters. The books are related in that they are both about memory tools and reincarnation.

Trish said...

When I first started reading your description, I thought of The Davinci Code, so I'm glad you addressed this in your post. Sounds like a really great read! It has been a long time since I've read something so engrossing that I've missed train/bus stops!

Anna said...

Trish: I love when I come across books like these! It sucks when I have to get off the subway and reboard to go back a stop or two, but thems the breaks!

tanabata said...

Great review! These are being mentioned all over the place lately and both books sound quite fascinating. And I love that you said it was so engaging you almost missed your stop! :)

Anna said...

Tanabata: Thanks! While it's a pain in the butt to miss my stop, I treasure books that get me so involved.

Blodeuedd said...

Oh yes I loved the Julius and Sabina story, more so than the rest of the story. It would have made a great story indeed in it's own...but of course I would have liked them to get away, not die like that

Anna said...

Blodeuedd: That was such a sad story.