Book Review: Another Beginning (Lauren James)

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 55

Release Date: July 29th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

A short story set in the world of Lauren James’ Next Together series.

Featuring the much-loved protagonists Clove and Ella, Another Beginning is a companion story to The Last Beginning, set during the siege of Carlisle in 1745.

“Elenore Walker, ancient literature thief. It makes an odd sort of sense, actually,” Clove said.

Clove is working as a maid in the Finchley household while she spies on Katherine Finchley and Matthew Galloway. But her mission is briefly interrupted when fellow maid Ella persuades her to help steal a valuable historical document from the main defence in the city – the castle. The two girls embark on a risky adventure involving scaling castle walls and hiding in the most unlikely of places!

Review:

I do love Clove and Ella, so it was great to have a short story for the two of them. It just made me want to read The Last Beginning all over again!

The two are adorable together, as ever, and also up to mischief again. They’re definitely my favourite time-travelling queer couple and I think everyone should read The Last Beginning if you haven’t already.

This is a very quick read, just a short story that gives you another snippet of the two together, this time stealing a valuable historical document in 1745. I found I wasn’t overly bothered by what they were doing, especially as I couldn’t quite place it in the timeline of the series (my fault as I haven’t read The Last Beginning for a while) but I just enjoyed seeing the two of them play off each other.

If you’ve enjoyed the series then do give this a read – if not then catch up on the series and get on this one!

4

Book Review: Another Together (Lauren James)

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 50

Release Date: June 2nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer?

Review:

I’ve been struggling to find time to read lately, and after finishing The Next Together I wasn’t sure if I had time to go straight on to The Last Beginning. Then I remembered I downloaded this short story ages ago. It was the perfect little story to dip into and great to be able to carry on with Kate and Matt’s story without having to commit to a full book while I was busy last month.

It was nice to be able to read a full one of the pairs adventures without jumping between stories: while I did like this in The Next Together, it was great to read one of their stories uninterrupted, as it were. I think this period of their lives was mentioned in the first book and I’m glad James picked this one for her short story. I love this period of history and it was great to see these familiar characters in it.

As always, I loved the pair, but found Kitty slightly annoying. She’s a bit too brash and in your face for me, but you gotta love a character with flaws. I’m still a bit in love with Matthew: I love his nerves around Kitty, the way she pushes him to do things outside his comfort zone and the way he grounds her. They’re such a lovely couple and I love seeing them in different time periods.

The plot to this was fairly simple (yes, I guessed the murderer easily) but it’s only a short book and the writing was great, bar a few too many exclamation points. It was the perfect story to tide me over in a busy month and to whet my appetite for the next book.

4

Book Review: The Next Together (Lauren James)

Publisher: Walker

Pages: 356

Release Date: September 3rd 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…

Review:

This is a book that I have been meaning to get on for ages and I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken me this long. But, hey ho, I’ve read it now, and just in time as I have a beautiful copy of The Last Beginning sat on my shelf too.

The Next Together follows the story of Katherine and Matthew across four different timelines. They meet, they fall in lover, they’re torn apart, and then they come back to do it all over again. Why do they keep coming back, and is there a way to stop the cycle?

The book flits between the characters in their different eras with ease: I never felt confused as to where we were, and I didn’t really dislike one either. I often find with multiple view points/stories you end up groaning when you realise the one you don’t like is up next, but I enjoyed all of these. I liked 2039 the best, and felt it really showed the way the future had changed well in little subtle ways.

Katherine and Matthew were great characters across all their incarnations. I think I liked all the different Matthews but Katherine did occasionally get on my nerves: I didn’t think she was as funny as she thought she was and I’m not sure we’d get on in real life!

The great mystery of the book was why they kept coming back together, and when I was none the wiser near the end I realised I might have to wait until book 2 for a full explanation. There’s enough to keep me satisfied for now though. The bits I found most interesting were the comments in between sections, where notes were made on whether the relationship was on track or if the ‘objective’ would be achieved. I found this really intriguing, and the repeatedly denied request for interference was really frustrating and I was really happy when it finally happened.

This book was a fun mix of genres and I felt it had a bit for everyone: romance, historical, sci-fi and contemporary. Each era was well researched and felt natural, and after the action packed ending I’m really excited to read the sequel.

4