Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: Life II by Scott Spotson

Life II
by Scott Spotson
Upon discovering a 1958 book titled "Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory," 42-year-old Max Thorning's life is thrown into chaos. Seeking answers to the book's cryptic clues, he discovers Dr. Time, a seemingly benign alien who has control of the Time Weaver, a remarkable device that can command any scene from the Earth's past. Dr. Time offers him a choice to go back into Time, to any point in his lifespan that he can vividly recall. The catch: he can only bring his memories, and can only live the future one day at a time. Follow Max's dilemma as he goes back to his 16-year-old self and tries to forge his destiny into a new one called Life II.

My Take:
There's a temptation in all of us dealing with regret of past decisions, to play the 'what if' game, desiring a 'Do Over'. Life doesn't often offer an opportunity to have one of these, and we usually have to deal with the consequences of these decisions, captives of the time stream we live in.

Dissatisfied with his controlling wife and his dead end job, Max Thorning secretly wishes he had a 'Do Over' card to play. When Max picks up an odd multi-language book entitled "Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory", the cryptic clues in the book lead him to the chance to go back in time and relive his life. He can only bring his memories with him, but memories of the future can be a powerful thing.

Max's decision to go back in time has far-reaching impact, affecting everyone close to him and changing the course of history. And he quickly comes to realize that the decision to change the past has much greater consequences than the decisions he was attempting to correct. And the cost is far higher than he's willing to pay.

PG - There is little real violence in the novel, although there is a suicide attempt and some gunplay.

R - The F-bomb is used in several places; on one page it occurs quite a few times. GD is used once. Other foul language is scattered throughout. The Lord's name is taken in vain in multiple places.

Drug Content:
PG-13 Drinking occurs to excess in a few places, and one occurrence ends up with no remembrance of the previous night. There is some offer of pot and minor drugs are mentioned.

Adult Content:
PG-13 - One character is a very active playboy. His escapades are not described, but it's obvious he's moved through many women. There is an emotional affair that destroys a marriage, and a couple live together without marriage for years. There is a gay couple who marry. One character struggles with homosexuality.

Christian content:
None, really. There is some discussion about faith, one character is a believer of sorts, and struggles with the atheism of her partner. There is some discussion about cheating fate, what God intended to happen, and the idea that a soul can only exist in one place at a time. The main character struggles mightily with his selfish mistakes, almost going insane with the shame and guilt.

Final analysis:
Some of this book dragged, and most of it was focused on life drama and comparatives from Life I to Life II. The action was interesting but was not so much an adventure story, although there were places where it paced like one. The characters were relatively believable. The technology differences between 2013 and the Eighties was clearly depicted, and added to the realism. The climax happened a bit early and the ending seemed drawn out. With those issues and the pacing, I didn't quite feel right giving this one more than Four Stars. However, I'll add that it gave me some interest in following it to its sequel, Bridge Through Time.

About the Author:
Scott SpotsonScott has written nine books: "Life II," a time travel novel; and its sequel, "Bridge Through Time," "Seeking Dr. Magic," a novel that imagines what happens when a powerful wizard comes of age as a young man, and wreaks his havoc on the world, which is yet unaware of his existence; "Delusional," in which a woman in love suddenly experiences hallucinations and resolve to track down her tormentor before it's too late; "The Deadly Wizard Games," in which four arrogant wizards take over North America and thrill the populace with deadly wizard games, "My Wizard Buddy" series, children's books in which Tyler has a boy wizard as a real friend, not as an imaginary one, and "You Know You're Thin When...," a humor book using large single panel cartoons.

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