Grasping at Eternity (Kindrily #1)
Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable — she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.
Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.
While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever — and discover just how lonely eternity can be.
Reincarnation is an interesting idea in itself. "Grasping at Eternity" also did a phenomenal job of approaching it. The author really is the real deal in fantasy and romance alike.
In many YA novels it's obvious that the MC and the love interest will either be brought together or reunited in some way. I thought it would be the same in this situation and it seemed like it would be, but then something impossible happened. I began to doubt that Maryah and Nathan would have a happy ending, I gained the impression that it could go either way. Ms. Hooper didn't give me the option to keep reading when she introduced this doubt, she forced me. There was no way I could stop once that happened, her writing became my air until the end where I finally took a breath before realizing I needed the sequel.
The author's writing style also captivated me with both it's hump and serious aspects, but that wasn't what I liked most about it. I loved watching the characters grow and flourish within themselves as well as in their relationships. I really felt a connection with them and I easily related to the majority of them multiple times. They were astoundingly human for their circumstances, I admired them for their perks and quirks and wanted to be them at several points.
If you like your YA fantasy with an extra helping of romance you will probably love this book. I suggest that you get to reading it ASAP!
The concept behind Grasping at Eternity is different from anything that I have read before. I loved the idea that every soul has an option to erase or retain its memories at the end of a lifetime, and that it is possible to spend eternity with the people you love. I’m a hopeless romantic, so I really liked this take on the idea of soulmates or “twin flames.”
Karen Amanda Hooper’s writing is lovely. Her descriptions are beautiful and vivid, and resulted in the pages on my Kindle app being filled with bright orange highlighter.
Grasping at Eternity is told from two perspectives: Maryah (which is such a lovely name!) and Nathaniel. Nathaniel’s perspective immediately provides the reader with a greater understanding of the Kindrily and reincarnation than Maryah possesses, and I often had to remind myself of that fact when I wanted to shake Maryah for being so unobservant. Maryah and Nathaniel have distinct “voices” making it easy to discern whose point of view you’re reading at all times. It took a little bit of time to get used to Nathaniel’s voice, due to the fact that he’s centuries old and therefore doesn’t sound like your average teenage boy, but after chapters it began to feel more natural.
I really liked Maryah as a character. She responded to everything in a realistic manner, instead of adapting to revelations about herself and her family with ease. Her relationship with Nathaniel was sweet, but I wish that she had spent more time with him before they were madly in love. I understand that they were together for lifetimes before the events of this book, but the lack of romantic build-up made it seem a bit like instalove.
While I liked some of the secondary characters (Carson, Faith, and Harmony), no one really stood out. I loved that the idea of a family was an important aspect of the plot, but I didn’t feel as if I got to know any of its members. Hopefully these characters will be explored in a bit more depth in the sequel.
Overall, Grasping at Eternity was an interesting, enjoyable read that answers several questions while setting up the remainder of the series. I can’t wait to read Taking Back Forever!
The book hits the ground running - the main character, Maryah, witnesses her parents and brothers being murdered by two strange men. She is also attacked but mangages to survive - thanks to Nathaniel, her soulmate and Krista, her cousin. She arrives at her godmother's house and is finds them all a bit strange, but goes along with it because she doesn't know what to do. Her life seems desolate, her cousin seems to want her to stay here and she has a major case of survivor's guilt. Meanwhile, all the family members (it's a big one) already know her from past lives and all are dancing around that fact that they all are supernatural souls, Elements- who can remember each of their past lives, have powers and are born in pairs, thus being soulmates. They reincarnate and chose their lives before being born, staying close to their kindrily. This all is not a spoiler since it appears like in the first few chapters itself - the primary reason I was so lost in the starting; the backstory and all the characters and powers were a bit tough to remember (I jotted down in a notebook to keep track - a first for me). So, Nathaniel is Maryah's soulmate and the few times she sees him in her dreams, she thinks he is an angel of death; until she sees him for real and begins to doubt her own sanity. Her life is in danger as some evil Nefariouns (I found this name lame, btw) who are out for life for some reason - and it seems to be tied into why she willingly erased her memories before being born in this life. Her current-life-amnesia makes for intense situations, as the rest of the family knows her but can't tell her as she might not believe them. Nate is tormented by the loss of his soulmate - if she can't remember him, what hope does their love have?
In terms of plot development, most of the book deals with Maryah and her memories. The evil Elements are more or less in the back burner, not posing immediate danger but a definite foreshadowing is there. The situations are so well thought out and planned - I must commend the author for her excellent writing, start of the book excluded. As for the characters, Maryah came across a bit judgemental to me - she started making assumptions on the go and her instincts were so wrong; I didn't even understand why she wanted to be friends with an ass like River, when she had so Faith and other members of the family. I get that he was the only one she could relate to, but come on, the guy was a class A jerk from the first line that dropped from his mouth. Nathaniel is the tortured hero - wishing desperately for his soulmate's memories to be back; he was sweet, stalking notwithstanding but sparks were really needed. Their love development kind of lacked a bit, as they are reincarnated souls and all; I would have loved it better if he was trying to love her as she was in this life rather than the angst over her 'hollowness'. When her memory came back, the 'I love you's came out so instantly. With so many characters into play in this book, it would be hard to pick one favorite, but I loved Carson - he was dropping so many hints, it was hilarious.
On the mythology of the book, well, since I do believe in reincarnation, I found it interesting how 'the eyes are the window to the soul' theory was taken literally in this book but I didn't really get the stars. Also, it wasn't really explained that why are these souls picked - do they serve a higher purpose? I really hope the next book delves into the mythology a bit more, with the souls and what erasing its' memories really mean.