I came across this book a few weeks ago in one of my frequent forays around what I've come to call the bookweb - websites/blogs pertaining to books, which tend to be interestingly interconnected. This book piqued my fancy, so I ordered it from the library. This is definitely the kind of book you should read if you're looking for something quick and entertaining.
The Reincarnationist flashes back and forth between the present and the past, as Josh Ryder tries to understand why he continually revisits Ancient Rome and turn of the century New York in his dreams or nightmares, depending on your definition. He is reliving past lives, and as he begins to understand more about his past, he realizes that events of the past are replaying themselves in ominous ways in his present. The imagery is good. The characters are interesting. I was excited for a bang finish, and then it donned on me that I might have read this book a few times before, that there may be a formula for suspense novels, and I became glum. I continued to read, hoping that I had not predicted the ending, which I hate. I am a willing-suspension-of- disbelief type person; I let the drama unfold for me and analyze afterwards. Here, though, the footprints were unmistakable.
A brief side note to put my disgruntlement in context. Everyone has read The Davinci Code unless you had moral issues against it or didn't want to follow the overwhelming tide. The Davinci Code was awesome, so I moved on to Angels and Demons. By the time I reached Deception Point, I knew I had already read this book. By the time I got to the last Brown book, I was super annoyed. It had happened again! Dan Brown was using the formula. Then I started to really dislike Dan Brown. He's duped all of us. He's written four books in different contexts with the same basic plot twists and gimmicks. (Why can't I think of something like that? Oh, right; there's no point!)
So, here I am in a quandary. Until page 450, I actually really liked The Reincarnationist. Now I'm annoyed and sort of angry that M.J. Rose didn't think of an ending more befitting her unique plot.
If you haven't read it, go read it and then come back and tell me what you think. If you have read it, continue.
As with Dan Brown, Rose resorts to the formula: one of the good guys becomes the bad guy at the end. The number one person we trust, besides the main characters, turns nasty. Yeesh. I was hoping for a little more grandiosity than that. I was hoping for something original. Then, when Josh dies, I'm convinced that Rose copped out. Good book, bummer, bummer ending.