Book Review: The Last Beginning (Lauren James)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 352

Release Date: October 6th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

Review:

I was super excited to receive a review copy of this book, and then with everything going on the last month or so it got a bit forgotten. So sorry to the lovely people at Walker books for that! I’m glad I’ve got round to reading it though because it was really fab.

I really enjoyed The Next Together but somehow this book just did it more for me. While I sometimes found Kate irritating as a protagonist, I really loved Clove. She had some of Kate’s impulsiveness and some of Matthew’s thoughtfulness and a whole load more personality of her own. I loved that she knitted to relax/let off some steam, although it used to have the opposite effect on me!

It was great to read about a gay character in a time travel book, where the focus isn’t on being gay/coming out. Clove and Ella’s relationship was sweet: confusing and frustrating at times maybe, but what relationship isn’t?! It took a while to get my head round some bits of it but that’s time travel for you. Special shout out again to James’ version of the future and the little ways she drops things in about it: it’s all subtle and works perfectly to build a picture of the world you’re in.

It was great to have some of the mysteries of the first book resolved and finally learn why Kate and Matt keep coming together at different points in history. It wasn’t the answer I was expecting either. Some bits of the plot had a ring of familiarity to them – changing things in the past and then actions making you start to disappear in the future, etc – but it was all well written and enjoyable so I’m not complaining. There were also parts that made me want to read The Next Together again, real ‘OMG that’s clever’ moments. You can tell the books were really well planned out.

This was a fab ending to the duology, although if she wanted to add another book in with more of Clove’s adventures, I wouldn’t be complaining. It’s probably not going to happen so I’ll just have to wait for her next book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which sounds awesome just from the title alone!

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