Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Book Review: The Reincarnationist

The Reincarnationist
M.J. Rose
What do you look for in a thriller? Is it a clever, original premise? Something that makes you think, along with the suspense and chills and quick action? Characters who are believable, who come across the page and into your mind and heart the way real people do?
Well, if that's what you're looking for, look no further! The Reincarnationist features smart, likable protagonists, an exciting hunt for legendary artifacts, as well as a fast-moving and original plot. Comparison to The Da Vinci Code are inevitable; the novel is, after all, set in Rome,
site of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. The plot moves along just as quickly, and it features a very similar blend of history, mythology, and suspense. However, the comparison isn't fair to either author: both of them have strengths of their own.
I'm not going to recap the plot here: for one thing, when reviewing a thriller, it's all too easy to give away plot points without meaning to. After all, just because some particular circumstance didn't strike me as a spoiler, doesn't mean that it won't be one for someone else. Besides, the novel has been extensively reviewed and recapped on sites such as and the MotherTalk bloggers who are joining me in reviewing this book. By the way, do follow the link to MotherTalk for the backstory on the book--it's fascinating!
Do you need to believe in reincarnation to enjoy the book? I'd say not. Even after reading the book, and the author's website, I'm still skeptical. She does a wonderful job of marshalling her evidence and presenting it in a way that makes suspension of disbelief quite enjoyable. I'd have to say, following the previous comparison, that I thoroughly enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, even though I don't believe in its basic premise of marriage between Christ and Mary Magdalene. So I'm one who can read a book, not necessarily take its premise literally, and still enjoy it. (Would I love the Discworld novels if I couldn't?)
And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There was some nail-biting, of course, which is what you'd expect from a thriller. I thought the historical scenes were well done, without modern-day anachronisms creeping in. Josh Ryder is a believable protagonist, Gabriella Chase is a well-drawn foil for him, and the supporting characters all have real personalities.
The book is available on Amazon, from your local Book Sense independent store, (including Vroman's!), your local superstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders (whose website is linked to Amazon).
For more information, and if you're a website junkie like me, you can check out the author's blog and the podcast interview here. Also, I'd love some feedback on how you like this review. Want me to do one every week? I certainly read enough books to be able to do that--and here's a teaser, I just got 4, count 'em 4, new knitting books this week! A very different kind of thrilling!