Cover Image: Reincarnation Blues

Reincarnation Blues

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Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poole
I knew I would be hooked on Reincarnation Blues before I even started! I was 100% right, because I devoured this book in a day and always wanted to read one chapter more. That’s the kind of book this is. 

Summary from Goodreads: A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself. 
What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

This is a captivating story about deaths, but also funnily enough also about live life in between. I fell absolutely in lover with the story and the themes within this book. Milo is in love with death, but can only spend time with her between his reincarnations – of which has had almost ten thousand. Reincarnation Blues, which is such a superb title by the way, encompasses Milo’s life on Earth, and other planets, and in the afterlife. There is an imaginative and inventive quality about all of Milo’s lives – even those that are only hinted at. Hats off to Poole for the creative and ingenuity of Milo’s ten thousand lives. That alone warrants a round of applause.

But additionally, there’s all these themes about our past lives, fate, and even karma jam packed between the pages. You can easily get lost in the plot that sweeps you away, even if it starts a little slowly. However, you find yourself asking if our past lives enrich us? Make us wiser? Better people? When we have so many of them, what effect does that have on our lives and mentality? 

The biggest question that immediately hit me was: if you were going to do something differently, in the next life – like be a more honest person, etc. – what would we choose to change and, ultimately, why not do that now? That’s deep. Poole takes us around the world and everywhere, in time and place. There is a richness to the places we travel to that enriches the story, and doesn’t feel too heavy handed. I especially loved the descriptions and setting of the afterlife. 

As we move forwards with the story, we also look backwards at Millo’s past lives. The sense of time here is distorted, and can be tricky to hang onto, but isn’t that one of the points? There is an especially good scene where we are told that the ‘afterlife’ is a myth with reincarnation, because it is not a strict progression of time. It can also be the ‘before’ life. This metaphor is a perfect even than encompasses how time works and flows in Reincarnation Blues. 

There are so many fantastic themes: karma, the ‘perfect’ life, the morality of our actions. There are questions about the universes, when is the ‘right time’, who decides these questions of fate and balance. If you thought Reincarnation Blues would be just a mindless story, you’re wrong there. And at the same time Poole does maintain this balance between hard hitting questions about life, the universe, and everything with Milo and Death’s love story. 

In this love story, which may be one of my favorites to date, there is a fragility and the same forces that we face in our lives: fate and struggle. Are they going to be together? Is this their fate? Will their love conquer all? This red thread of true love and the struggle to be together runs throughout the storyline behind the scenes. There also exists this fantastic question about what next? If we can live through many lives over and over again, what is next? 

Even within the ending there are still these larger questions at hand. Poole continues to offers us questions and ultimately we are the ones who must answer. That being said, there is something entertaining and satisfying about this book that definitely warrants reading Reincarnation Blues. If you’ve ever wondered about reincarnation, or the power of love, I am almost positive you will enjoy this.
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I loved it but you would have to be able to handle shifting time lines.
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I was very surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the Novel. The life lessons and over all morality expressed in this books is done with enjoyable wit and humor. The idea that the universe doesn't always know what people truly need for perfection of the soul is wonderful done. Anyone who is a  fan of Neil Gailman and Prattchet will have a hoot with this book. I love the way it explains how different people need each other, and that we as human beings are constantly learning from out past mistakes.
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You get 10,000 chances (lifetimes) to reach perfection, and Milo only has a couple left to get it right. Problem is, he's in love with Suzie (aka Death). Is it worth it to reach Perfection if it means being without the one you love?

It immediately brought "Wristcutters: A Love Story" to mind, a movie based on a short story by Etgar Keret. Reincarnation Blues is an unconventional love story that almost reads like a collection of short stories due to the many lives that Milo lives. There were several of the 'lives' that I didn't particularly care for, but overall, I really enjoyed this book.
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Because I could not stop for Death,
She kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

After living - and dying - 9,995 times Milo has an intimate relationship with death... or Susie as she likes to be called. In fact, Milo is in love with Susie. And he's in no rush to become a perfect soul and ascend to a higher state of being. Where would that leave their relationship? But, as Milo is about to find out, he only has 10,000 tries to get this right.

Told across many lives throughout time and across the globe, Milo's story questions what human perfection is. Interesting, moving and surprisingly funny, this is the largest love story ever told. I loved this take on our afterlife and what awaits us after death. The story was fast paced with characters that develop and endear you to them quickly. Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far.
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Unfortunately this book went over my head, it was interesting, the concept and the story BUT I felt I read similar in the shack.  Just not something I got engrossed in and therefore I can't say more on it, good writing but the plot I didn't enjoy so much.
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This novel was unique and unlike anything I've read before. I appreciated that greatly, especially after reading a lot of books with similar plots this year.

The jumping around was difficult for me at first; was this a new life for Milo, or is the author just telling us about one of Milo's previous lives? Is he in the afterlife, or living a life? Sometimes it took a page or two or a good part of a chapter to figure that out. It's a little distracting.

I did enjoy that this book seems like dozens of smaller stories in one. It's like a bunch of short stories that play into a larger arc. This isn't just about Milo's final five chances to get life right -- readers get glimpses into some of his past lives, too. Sometimes they are a few sentences. Sometimes they are paragraphs or multiple pages. It can be as small as him living life as a cricket, a turtle, or dying via catapult. Either way, it was a pretty cool reading experience.

The longer stories are, as can be expected, regarding his final five lives. These are really incredible. A couple of these are very sci-fi. Some moments are dark and cringeworthy. I wouldn't really consider this an easy read... but not all books should be! 

Even so... I didn't click with this story as much as I had hoped I would. It didn't affect me as much as a book so profound should have. I can't place why exactly, but it just wasn't something that fully reeled me in.
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Not sure how I feel about this one.  I enjoyed the many lives and stories of Milo and Susie but was left feeling a bit confused with the ending.  The cover art of the book is pretty cool though.
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This was a fun read! While this book read like a set of short stories to me-it was at times hard for me to stay concentrated on the main story line of the book. The first few chapters sucked me in, and the book continued with lessons on life-some far fetched and some that hit home. 
Even with the silliness at times in this book, I had kept rooting for Suzie and Milo the whole time. There are times/topics that were serious as well (the whale especially) like love, loss, and what is "perfection".

I also agree with other reviewers that I felt a sense of Douglas Adams throughout the writing.

Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone wanting a funny and enlightening book.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest opinion. My thanks to Michael Poore and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I went into Reincarnation Blues cold after receiving it as a recommendation from NetGalley. I thought the cover looked like The Hike and thought it was going to be in a similar vein. It is a strange little book at times and kind of a fun adventure.

The book follows Milo as he faces death for the 9,995th time. Each time he dies, he wakes up on the shore and is guided by Suzie aka Death as he recovers.

Milo has begun to enjoy his deaths, but perfection still alludes him. He states that he has chosen not to chase that dream since he is having too much fun. The problem is he only has 5 more chances to get it right before becoming nothing. If he can achieve it, he joins the oneness of the universe and has eternal bliss.

The reason Milo enjoys dying is because he has fallen in love with Suzie and each time he dies, he gets to spend time with her. Suzie also loves Milo, but knows this is a relationship that cannot be because Death cannot love a human being.

This now lays out the adventure as Milo has 5 more chances and Suzie becomes conflicted so much so that she considers giving up her position. The book continues looking it Milo's remaining lives as well as his time in the bardo.

This was a fun book with some predictable parts and some very slow parts. Overall, I loved the whole concept and storyline of the book. There were some of Milo's lives that just bogged the book down a bit. He has some very fast lives which are more enjoyable than his very lengthy extended lives. I was wondering why Poore made some of the decisions he did as his interactions with Suzie were much more enjoyable than his time on Earth.

As a reader, Milo becomes a great character as you get to know some of his lives and the choices he makes. There are some moments where Milo is conscious of his previous lives and makes choices to listen or not to listen to his past lives' voices. That was a lot of fun.

I did wonder if Buddhists will not enjoy one of his lives as he comes to know Buddha and does something that may anger some readers. Again a question of why he chose that path as it didn't really effect the character's arc. 

As stated, I did enjoy the book as a whole, but did find myself skipping and coasting through some of Milo's lives as I enjoyed the Bardo' storyline much more. I just wish Poore had spent a bit more time there.

I gave this one 3.5 stars.

*I want to thank NetGalley for the early release. I received it for free in exchange for an honest review.*
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The premise of this book totally had my attention. And it did deliver in the beginning. It was funny, it was weird. The chapter titles were a hoot. The writing and plot caught me by surprise - at first, in a good way, and then in a not so good way. It all got too repetitive and dreary. I didn't like Milo. I didn't like Suzie. The storytelling got too crass for me and I honestly just wanted the book to be over, and eventually around chapter 24, I decided to stop investing my time in it. I couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to Milo or his attainment of Perfection or whatever. 

The synopsis says this is like Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut...umm I don't know about that.
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During several sections of the book I was leaning toward a 5 star rating, at other times I felt the humor was misplaced, the author trying to be too clever. Other scenes were more disheartening, full of despair. Such is life. Still a very good exploration of what it means to be human, to want to be good, how striving for perfection can be an almost impossible task. Recommended.
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This book follows Milo who has lived 9,995 lives and only has 5 tries left to achieve Perfection. Milo is in love with Death (like the actual god of Death... or *one* of them), or Suzie, as she likes to be called. Poore follows Milo and Suzie as they navigate Milo's last few lives and the time they get to spend together in between each reincarnation.

First off, what a concept!
Reincarnation Blues is such a cool idea for a novel and I did mostly enjoy it.
The novel kept me interested and captivated and I think it will appeal to a lot of different readers across many genres, from fantasy to sci-fi to historical fiction to contemporary.

My biggest issue was the flashback chapters. The idea that the timeline of the novel has to go back and forth to encompass as much of Milo's vast experiences as possible make sense. However, since the current plot of the novel seemed so urgent, I found the sections when Milo was lowkey reflecting on his past lives a little distracting. There is a lot going on in this novel. Almost every chapter is almost its own entire life or story. So sometimes an entire recollection chapter that could have been summed up in a much more brief format took away from my enjoyment of the following chapters which focused on the current timeline.

Overall, though, this was a fun, enjoyable book. There is a lot to love about it and I'd recommend it to readers looking for a little something different to add to their TBR.
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This quirky books tell the story of one soul- Milo and his nearly 10 000 incarnations. Each chapter tells the story of a different incarnation and the strange experiences and characters he encounters- everything from being eaten alive by a shark, to travelling the cosmos. Milo is in love with Death herself- Suzie, who he meets after he dies and the short stints he spends with her before moving on to his next life. He encounters her in each of his incarnations, although he does not remember her. They are madly in love with each other, but it is their complicated relationship of her being Death and him almost finishing his incarnational cycle that they devise a plan in order for them to be together. The plan is for Milo to achieve Perfection- meaning he can surpass becoming part of the Oneness of the universe and can therefore be with his true love. We accompany Milo during his different soul experiences, sometimes laughing, sometimes relishing in the simple beauty of life, and sometimes grieving alongside him. As someone who has always been fascinated with the concept of reincarnation, I thought this book while appearing to be yet another mystical fiction read, turned out to be a much deeper metaphysical exploration of the human experience. Appreciating the fragility of life while living up to your soul’s contract is a delicate balance we are all hoping to achieve.

It is easy when reading this book to jump to conclusions and cringe when we see Milo making a mistake and smiling when he’s done good……if only life were that easy. In the beginning of the book Milo does not want to stop reincarnating as he tells Death and some other elusive cosmic characters that “who doesn’t want to live?” What becomes apparent, is that Milo truly wasn’t living, he didn’t treasure every single moment of his lives because somewhere deep down inside he knew he would be back for another turn again. I believe the whole concept of reincarnation comes with a massive responsibility- we all like the idea of being recycled when we die, but somehow, that can become a cop out and excuse for not living a full life. Perfection- the state Milo is so desperately trying to achieve is not something we strive for, it’s something we must become.
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It may be about one person's 10,000 lives, but this novel moved along at a fast clip that I didn't want to end.  The main character, Milo, has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, but unfortunately he has never achieved perfection.  His incarnations have been millennia in the past, far in the future, human and otherwise.  Each time he dies he ends up in the afterlife before a new assignment that depends on how well he performed most recently.  Along his journey, he has gotten to know death very well, in the person of Suzie; after many incarnations their friendship turned into romance, a relationship against the order of things.  While we read to see if Milo will achieve perfection by his ten-thousandth lifetime, his journeys range from rollicking to horrific, are never boring, and often thought-provoking.  I hope this book gets all the attention it deserves.
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This was a lovely book.  Gripping and well written, the concept is startling and well executed.  I could not put this down once I started.
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Some characters, but not the plot, were reminiscent of The Shack.  Milo's 'support team' of Mama and Nan and his special relationship with Death/Suzie provided much humor, along with the moralistic lessons shared through his many lifetimes.  Great concept, characterization which provided much enjoyment in this read!

Thanks to Michael Poore for his book and the opportunity to read it provided by and Del Rey/Ballantine.
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A fantastic, whirlwind read that left me seriously thinking about life and love when I was finished. Milo is in love with Death. And he dies over and over and over so he can get back to his love. It's a joy to go through each reincarnation, to think about the idea of perfection and what it might mean to live a perfect life. The paths we each take through this funny world are all so different and every choice we make has the possibility to change millions of other pathways. Milo has tried thousands of lives and is still figuring out what it all means--the only thing he truly knows is that he has to get back to Suzi, aka Death. I adored this book--one of the best reads I've had this year!
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Milo has lived 9,995 lives and only has 5 more to try and make it to Perfection. The main reason Milo hasn't achieved Perfection yet is because he is in love with Suzie, who works for Death. Each time Milo dies, he gets to spend time with Suzie before he starts another life However, if he doesn't achieve Perfection by the end of his 10,000th life, he will cease to exist forever. I loved the creativity of this book. The author shares so many of Milo's different lives. He was juggler, a bug; he has died by being eaten by a shark, blown up by the sun. Milo goes back in time hundreds of years and forwards in time and lives in space. There were some hilarious parts and some sad and disturbing parts but Milo learns something from each life he lives. My favorite part of the book is the ending because Perfection means something different to everyone and I love what it means to Milo. This was a heartfelt and thought provoking story that had me wishing I could read about all of Milo's 10,000 lives.
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So very wonderful and imaginative and funny and sad and brilliant and beautiful.

Milo is an old soul – he has lived 9995 lives so far and has yet to achieve perfection. In fact he isn’t even sure he wants to achieve perfection as he is in love with Death (or rather a Death – Suzie). This has to change when he is informed that every soul has in fact only 10000 lives to get it right or it will be erased. This short synopsis doesn’t really do the book justice but it will have to suffice because I think going into this book relatively blind worked well for me.

I adored this book and enjoyed reading it immensely. I love stories told unchronologically and this story is told in a series of interconnected glimpses into Milo’s lives; some of these glimpses were very short and some a bit more elaborated and I thought this worked absolutely wonderfully.

This book combines many of the things I adore in fiction and does so in a way that feels uniquely catered to me. I am genuinely in love with this book and spent most of my time reading with a huge grin on my face. I love short stories – so I adored the longer descriptions of some of his lives so very much. In fact, the first complete life we get to spend with Milo would work brilliantly as a short story, even without the added layer of the rest of the book.

I even enjoyed the love story, which is something I do not often do. But here I found it believable and unique and essential for the story told. I was keeping my fingers crossed for Milo and Suzie to find a way to stay together and to carve out their own place for their love. This is due mostly because they were such well-drawn character in their own rights first and their relationship grew out of that.

While I enjoyed the whole book, I found the ending to be a bit weaker than the rest; however the very last chapter was beautifully executed and so it ended on a high note for me.

First sentence: “This is a story about a wise man named Milo.”
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