The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare - M.G. Buehrlen

This book and I got off to a weird start. I know I am not the only one who has felt that way because there are quite a few DNFs or reviewers complaining about the pacing. I have to honestly say, at the beginning it was an issue for me. But I loved the writing from the very start. It was vivid, loaded with imagery, and since I am a huge visual reader, I really wanted to stick this out and see where it went. I am glad I did, because the second half of this book was brilliant, and it kept getting better as I approached the conclusion. 

I think the best way to get my point of view across here is to do my review by likes and dislikes. It's kind of the way I read it too. I kept thinking as I went along, "I like this. Nope, I don't care for this." Thing is, most of what I have to say is positive. And I ended up giving this book 4 stars. So let's get the dislikes out of the way first.


  • The pacing was an issue. I already stated this, but you should know that the more you read, the better it gets. It just takes this one a little while to get going. It is a slower paced book than most other YA novels, but since I read a lot of adult fiction too, it wasn't hard for me to get into the swing of things.
  • I mentioned loving the writing, and I did, but I did feel the book was a BIT too long. Maybe too wordy? Or maybe just some of the exposition and conversation at the beginning could have been whittled down so the plot moved faster?
  • Honestly, some of the descriptions were a bit odd. I would be trucking along and reading when this really odd sentence would yank me out of the narrative. See example below. 

The mouth of the gun still smiled at the ceiling, licking its chops.

  • There was also a really odd one towards the beginning where Alex mentions she feels like oatmeal. Not that she is moving sluggishly like she is stuck in oatmeal, but that she actually IS oatmeal. It was just...odd.

But now we get to talk about the good stuff. And honestly, there is way more good than there is bad. I showed you an example of where the writing felt off to me, but I want to show you where the writing was awesome too. Because 99% of it was. The following is my favorite quote from the book. And it refers to Alex talking about her sister Audrey who has cancer.
  • It was always that way with us. Whenever we found forgotten or broken objects, I would repair them and bring them back to life, and Audrey would make them beautiful. I was the stoic one with Coke-bottle eyeglasses. Audrey was the beauty, with a laugh that gave color to our world. 
  • The story is just so unique. I usually don't mesh well with books about time travel. But this I just loved the concept and the science behind it. Even though much of it is completely implausible, it was believable within the context of the narrative. And fascinating. Especially the soulmarks. WOW. I loved that we got to relive historical events from the past, and I love that this is a series and that in the next book I will get to relive more important historical events through the protagonist's eyes. We only really got a glimpse of THREE of Alex's past lives in this novel, and can you imagine what all the rest of them will be like? The opportunities are ENDLESS.
  •  And then there was Alex herself. Okay, so I didn't love how judgmental she was of her female peers and I am never a fan of nerdy girls who think they are better than everyone else, but I was able to overlook that one aspect of Alex's behavior because I loved her relationship with her sisters and her grandparents. I loved how healthy this family was even when a horrible disease was ravaging them from the inside out. I loved their movie nights and I loved grandma's baking. There were just so many AWWWW moments.
  • And then there was the sort-of love triangle. I say SORT OF because I am not sure where this is going, and I don't specifically want to call it a triangle because it was so unique in its approach. Unique and I loved it! I don't want to spoil anything but I do want to discuss it with you if you have finished it. Who do you ship? I have to know. *coughs* Team Jensen. For now.
All Together Now:
I understand why readers DNFed this book. That said, I am so glad that I didn't. I think that if you can be patient enough to stick it out, the second half is absolutely brilliant. The characterizations are strong, the scenes are cinematic in their lushness, and I am hooked. I cannot wait to see where this book goes next, and this is one series I am definitely interested in continuing. I definitely recommend this one, but I also think you need to be in a patient frame of mind to read it. There may be the chance that you won't have issues with the pacing at all though. But who wants to take that chance? Trust me when I say you WANT to finish it. The last 50 or so pages are full of unpredictable twists and excitement. 
4/5 Dragons