What’s on the Bookshelf: ‘Grasping at Eternity’

I’ve been reading a lot of young and new adult novels lately that, although they are wonderful, are cut from the same mold. The genre, the themes, the characters all feel as if you could rearrange the book titles and you’d still have the same story. In a market flooded with vampires and werewolves, it’s nice to see a book with supernatural elements that have nothing to do with blood or biting.

I think that’s one of the main reasons that when I opened “Grasping at Eternity” by Karen Amanda Hooper on my Kindle, the e-reader did not leave my grasp until I had reached the last page.

Maryah Woodsen is Kindrily, a group of souls that reincarnates, recalls their past lives and has supernatural powers. Only, Maryah has no memory of the lifetimes she has lived before or the power she possesses.

One of the strengths of this book is that Hooper focuses on Maryah’s current life without getting wrapped up in the past ones. Although those past lives directly affect Nathan’s interactions with her, overall Hooper keeps the storyline focused without bogging the reader down in unnecessary back story.

However, there are two things that bothered me or I just didn’t understand.

The first, I didn’t get why the “villain” was such a villain or how the “bad” Kindrily turn bad. Hooper does explain the difference between the good and the bad, but basically, I felt the history between the two groups was unclear. What were the bad Kindrily doing that was such a big deal – minus murdering a few of Maryah’s group in a past life? (Talk about holding a grudge.) And why are those actions so troubling to Maryah’s family? As much as I like the focus of the novel, there were a few key areas that could have used a bit more history in order to fully understand the antagonism between the two groups.

The other issue I have is that there are so many characters that I never really connected with any of them other than Maryah and Nathan. The others became just names on the page, and after awhile, they all blurred together. I really couldn’t tell you who was who or what power they had because I couldn’t keep it straight — just too many names on the page. I did connect with Maryah and Nathan, however, and since it is their story, Hooper did accomplish the most important aspect to keep this reader interested.

Overall, I adore this book enough that I would read it again. Hooper does a great job of keeping the action in the present, and I really couldn’t help but love “Nut Job,” as Maryah not-so-affectionately calls Nathan.