Author: Amanda Gray
Genre: YA, science fiction, romance
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Synopsis from NetGalley: Jenny knows she’s different. After all, she sees the past lives of people she touches. But when Nikolai, the mysterious boy she painted, shows up claiming to be a love from a past life, Jenny is forced to accept that he has traveled through time to find her. Now, Jenny and Nikolai must fight against the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time. The Order is determined to send Nikolai back. And fighting them could tear Jenny and Nikolai apart — this time for eternity.
I swear, this is like the fifth book about time travel I’ve read in the last two weeks. Apparently parallel worlds and using the TARDIS is in this fall (sorry, I can’t resist all the Doctor Who references with these books). Sadly, this isn’t the best of the bunch. It was good, just not stunning. Possible Spoilers Ahead.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Endless through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Jenny: A reincarnation of Maria, one of the Romanov daughters executed in the Bolshevik revolution. She didn’t grab me too much as a main character, and I couldn’t really empathize with her. I felt like she spent a lot of time whining about her gift and subsequent inability to touch peoples’ palms. After she figures out her past life and connection to Nikolai, she drops all of her friends like they were nothing! Even Ben, who is seriously one of the coolest characters I’ve met in a while, and has some major crap that he’s going through and he was practically begging for her friendship in that teen boy way where he doesn’t actually say it but you just know. Ultimately, Jenny was a reliable narrator, but she whined far too much for my taste. and lacked loyalty to her friends.
Nikolai: I enjoyed his character, with the whole “I will protect you until the end of time” schtick, but when I really stepped back after the book and looked at him, I realized that he’s a very flat character. It’s like Gray relies on the readers’ ability to fill in the corners of the archetype, and only gave some snippets to start him off. In the end, he’s really more of an idea rather than a fleshed out character. At least he fulfills his role well.
Ben: With shaggy hair, an eyebrow and lip piercing, and a death glare to end all death glares, Ben isn’t the most likeable character at the beginning of the story. But, just as all of my favorite male characters progress, he started to peel back some of the layers of himself and show a vulnerable boy inside. With his dad in jail after physically abusing Ben’s mom, Ben only wants to protect her, and is haunted by his silence in the middle of the abuse. It’s a compelling backstory, and not heavy-handed in the delivery. It’s revealed one bit at a time, with just the right pacing. And the best part about Ben is that he never feels entitled to Jenny’s romantic interests – he’s a pure, platonic friend, and stays as such through the end of the book.
This time travel book had the extra snippet of past lives being involved, and it was an interesting twist to this idea. Although I have one question about the time travel laws: if it’s illegal to jump time and stay there, why are the people in the Order allowed to stay in the not-their-time? It seems a mite hypocritical to me. Politics. Psh.
And then there’s the cynic in me, scoffing at the idea of a love that transcends lifetimes. I just… I don’t know. That whole “I will be with you until the world burns and collapses on itself no matter what comes between us we will be together” thing is just so… Unbelievable. Like I said, cynic.
The plot was really slowly paced. I was seriously at 65% and it was only starting to get into the real meat of the story. The climax wasn’t until about 85% ish, and everything wrapped up really quickly. I understand the need to introduce a story and its characters and build suspense, but after waiting until the 50% mark I quickly became frustrated and impatient. It just seemed so imbalanced, like climbing up a mile high mountain but then realizing that the other side was only an eighth of a mile tall.
Also, the ending was really abrupt. I had invested a lot of time into this book, and then to just be dropped off at the end, not knowing what happens to Nikolai and the Order: it was really disappointing.
It had potential, but just fell a little flat for me. Ultimately, it’s my beef with Jenny that dragged down the rating – the basic story is really good, and I do recommend it if you have the patience for a slow start!
Find the book at:
Barnes and Noble: