Welcome to your next chance.
Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality.
Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect . . .
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Resurrection Chronicles
I've never read a book that's left me completely and utterly speechless by the time I finished it. Usually, I'll have something to say, even if it's a sentence as simple as 'I love it' or, 'I hate it'. A simple 'I love it,' however, won't cut it for AFTERLIFE. This novel is so rich with beautiful descriptions, reflections, and events that I fear I will be unable to give anything Merrie has incorporated justice.
AFTERLIFE is in this futuristic New Orleans setting, where everyone on earth can live more than once. In fact, you can live nine times. Basically you get this little chip inserted into your body, and when you die -- or "jump," as a lot of the characters refer to it -- your soul, whatever it is that makes you, you, transfers to a newly made clone.
Which brings us to the first few pages in the book. Chaz, one of the characters we follow along in this tale, is Babysitting a new clone, Angelique. The two are out drinking during Angelique's first day of rebirth. It is then that they stumble upon our third character, Neville. I won't give much away, especially since what happens in the beginning is especially important for what happens towards the middle and end. Besides, this story is fun to figure out on your own.
I thought that the POV swap was one of the most interesting aspects of this story. I mean, you witness events through Chaz, Angelique, Neville, Russell, and Omega the dog. (Yes, you get to witness the story from a dog's POV. And yes, it is so incredibly awesome.) What's even better is that the POV swap wasn't jarring. I had no problem discerning which scene was happening in which person's perspective. This switch truly was a genius way to get me to hate Russell and Neville on a completely new level. Chaz, at some point, actually grew on me because of witnessing so much through his eyes. Angelique was a bit weird -- I think because of the whole past life issue -- but she was also likable. At least I was upset enough towards the end.
The speech of some of the characters was a bit strange. I wanted to smack these characters for sounding so moronic at times -- especially Neville. It's also a minor detail that one tends to overlook after reading it for so long. Consider this a warning for those of you who are easily annoyed with speech like that. There are also a few words and phrases that might throw people off. I didn't have a problem with them, but I know some will.
I had a hard time adjusting to some of the lingo at the start. And when I say lingo, I'm specifically talking about all the street talk and drugs. They kind of confused me, just because I was unfamiliar with what each did. Due to my confusion, I found myself wishing that there was a bit more exploration with these sorts of facts earlier on. As it is, readers are flung into AFTERLIFE's world with little more than a safety blanket to cling to. We see the good, we see the bad, and we definitely see the ugly. Rest assured, these things do get acknowledged later on in the story; Merrie doesn't leave her readers in the dark.
The format of this novel is extremely different from what I'm used to reading. Typically, the books I've grown accustomed to are in first person and travel from point A to point B. I discover what happens along with the characters. Yet in AFTERLIFE, it's completely different. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it. It's kind of like... Merrie teases you with something new that happens. The chapter ends. Then you witness the scenes leading up to that one event via each of the other characters.
AFTERLIFE is a unique debut with beautiful descriptions by an insanely talented author who is not afraid to try something new. This novel was refreshing and exciting, and I am eagerly anticipating Merrie's future releases. If you enjoy urban fantasy,and if you want to see a new take on what life would be like if humanity could be almost immortal, then you definitely need to check this book out. You'll regret it if you don't!