While I was reading Merrie Destefano’s Afterlife, I kept trying to think of what I would say in my review. At one point I wanted to say no one should read Afterlife because it will only throw your mortality in your face. At another point I wanted to say that everyone should read it because then you could realize just how precious your one, single, solitary life is. And then, at some other point, I wanted to make my entire review about the dog, Omega, because don’t we hear and think about death way too much, considering just how short our lives actually are in the scheme of everything? But here I am, writing this review, and I still have no idea what to talk about.
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 . . .
Like I said before, Afterlife will throw your mortality in your face. In that world, everyone gets the chance to have nine lives (living a total of about 488 years – Angelique, one of the characters did the math. Each new life starts at 21 and they’d live to about 72, without any accidents) while we barely scrape by with 100 years.
There are drawbacks to being able to live for so long. Like the fact that in each new life you won’t remember your family or friends from your past life (or lives). A clean start. As much as I fight with my family (and all those teenage years where I told my parents I hated them all the time), there’s no way I’d ever want to live a life without them. To live without them would be like living without my arms and legs – it’s doable, but so very painful.
Which brings me to the dog. I think it was Chaz who talked about a study that scientists conducted where they would take a person’s dog from a past life and causally reintroduce the person with their dog. Even though it’d be in a place where the dog and owner had never been before, and the person was in a new body, almost every single time the dog would find its old master immediately. If I couldn’t live with my family, I’d love to have my dog, Kobe (named after the city in Japan and not the basketball player) with me. (Kobe was my mental image of Omega – the black German Shepard who played a key role in Afterlife – giving me all the more reason to love Omega.)
With death, life and dogs aside, Afterlife was a very interesting read. The speed of the plot kept fluctuating but will be able to keep readers engaged with the alternating points of view between several key characters.
No matter what you believe in, Afterlife will make you think about what is going to happen to you after you die. It will make you think about what immortality would be like. It will make you think. Period. (It probably will make you want to hug everyone in your family, or maybe that’s just me.)