‘The Next Together’ – Lauren James

The Next Together

The moment I saw the cover I knew this would be heavy on the romance (which is not a genre I’m overly fond of), but once I’d read the blurb I couldn’t wait to get started!

Katherine and Matthew are born over and over again. Each time they are born, they meet and fall in love. Something momentous takes place around them, and they die. Until the next time.

While Matthew and Katherine seem to have vague recollections of their shared histories, we are treated to seeing them interact in four very different periods in time. In 1745, they are involved in the Carlisle Uprising. In 1845, Matthew is a journalist sent to report on the conditions the soldiers fighting in the Crimea are experiencing. In 2019 – our closest future – they are scientists accused of terrorism and trying to manufacture a biological weapon. In 2039, they are lab partners who stumble across a link between themselves and them in the past (try not to think too much about the logistics) and they end up on the run.

Curiously, there is a very real sense of the characters being slightly different each time and this brought each period to life in a way that was fascinating. For me, the real pull was the little excerpts of what look like coding interspersed throughout the text which heavily suggest that someone/something is actually directly in charge of these characters’ experiences. The idea that they are being manipulated for some other purpose is intriguing, and there are definite hints that we will get some answers – and, no doubt, some new questions – in the sequel, due out in October 2016.