Where Honesty Never Ends.
Nine Lives of Adam Blake by Ryan Gladney
Amazon Author Page
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Adam Blake knows what fate awaits him after death. He has died before, and will die again, and always it’s the same. For Adam, there is no heaven, no hell, no reincarnation, or cold, final sleep. When he dies, his life flashes before his eyes; it rushes backward—nothing skipped or overlooked—until it stops, suddenly, at age twelve, one week after he had mysteriously disappeared in the woods behind his childhood home. Then, he wakes up.
Adam is cursed—or blessed—to relive the same life again and again, from this moment onward, regardless of how he lives, who he becomes, or what ultimately causes next his demise. He is free to right past wrongs, avoid past mistakes, pursue any interest and chase any dream. But the longer Adam lives, the less anything matters but answers. He must know: Why is he stuck in this loop? What is its cause? How will it end? And what awaits him on the other side of death when it finally does?
Hello and welcome to The Review Board. Today we will be taking a close look at “Nine Lives of Adam Blake” by Ryan Gladney. First let us take a look at Frederick Crook’s thoughts.
This book sent me into a tenseness that I often experience when indulging in a “Groundhog Day”-type of story. I’m uncomfortable, but curious. Entertained, yet annoyed. This in no way dissuades me from watching “Groundhog Day” over and over as the years go by, nor do I shy away from that one episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where the Enterprise gets blown up again and again.
Adam Blake is stuck in a loop, reasons unknown, for duration unknown. He has lived time and again for entire lifespans, dying at an old age, or in an effort to ‘hit the reset button’ as it were, he takes himself out.
What seems to be the driving force behind all this, the focal point, really, is a girl. The opening scene of each new life is a birthday celebration where a friend’s sister stops by the bar/restaurant where it takes place. His happiness for that current run depends on the choices he makes that night. Does he say or do something dumb to turn her off, or does he do everything right and they live happily ever after until…THWACK!
There he is again…same bar…same celebration…same choices to make and he remembers it all.
So, you may think I’ve given a lot away here, but honestly, that’s just the set up. The characters are decently built, though at times, Adam seems a little vague, but that just might have been the Adam on that particular run-through of his life. At times, the scenario is heartbreaking, other times, not overly explored, are the best lives. Those where he and Tamar Nunez live their natural lives, complete with marriage and kids and yada-freakin’-yada, are glossed over quickly.
I would not say that this was an overly creative telling of such a “Groundhog Day” scenario. There’s a severe lack of humor in the book, which I felt it needed desperately. At least a little bit. However, it was enjoyable, entertaining, and well-written, though I do believe an opportunity was missed to really brighten the story with a reason why this Adam guy was given the opportunity to do things over and over until he, more or less, got things right.
I was left asking myself, ‘why?’, though perhaps that’s not so important. I also would have been more satisfied with a less ambiguous conclusion. With that, I’d give this an 8 out of 10 stars.
Thank you Frederick for your thoughts. Next up, Mr. Controversy.
Ryan Gladney’s odyssey titled “Nine Lives of Adam Blake” is about a man who experiences death after making a ridiculous series of decisions.
After getting himself offed in a car accident which involved an 18-wheeler (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE), 30-year-old Adam Blake is killed while trying to reconcile with his girlfriend Tamar. He awakens in a hospital where his deceased mother was there to greet him.
DECEASED MOTHER?! He is dead, yet he awakens?! How is this possible? Even more, he awakens in that very hospital at age 12: apologetic for what he had done!
Seems to me that Adam Blake is experiencing and feeling a bit of his inner Bill Murray as he undergoes his own “Groundhog Day”!
No, no, no…
This is heavier than the day of the groundhog: Adam Blake is almost like Booker Dewitt from Bioshock Infinite!
Let’s checklist to confirm this theory:
-Handsome, old-fashioned, and tormented soul: CHECK.
-Booze hound and a gambler (of his life, specifically), like Booker Dewitt: CHECK.
-Regretful actions, which caused his life to be ruined: CHECK.
-Stuck in an endless loop that is his life, until he gets it right: CHECK.
-Memories remembered, and recollected: CHECK.
(Yes: I placed the commas in checklist items 2-4 ON PURPOSE, as you are about to see)
Handsome, old-fashioned, tormented, booze hound, regretful, stuck in an endless loop (multiverse theory) until he sees the errors of his ways while remembering bits and pieces of his past lives…
Yep: Adam Blake IS Booker Dewitt!
Holy crap, dude. Holy. Crap.
There is, however, a catch/difference: Booker Dewitt’s iterations had nose bleeds when recalling events from other timelines. Adam Blake’s iterations carried those events and memories over with neither nosebleeds nor problems: indicating Multiverse Theory.
In this particular scenario, Adam Blake is Schrödinger’s Cat, trying to get his one Butterfly Effected life in line and on track so that he may move on.
He marvels at his 12-year-old reflection in the mirror of his childhood home in this mulligan, remembering long forgotten memories as well as recalling his older years.
I would like to, at this time, share a VERY specific excerpt from this story. Adam has a revelation that blows his mind, and even impressed MY mind. He speaks to his sister Ruthie about what life may VERY WELL be (on a Quantum Physics level) while playing “Super Mario Bros.”:
“‘I mean, what if that’s how it is? What if all of us—you, me, everyone—are just like Mario? We’re inside the game, living out iteration after iteration of the same life, gradually improving but totally clueless to it all? Maybe our soul or some part of us is outside the game, and it guides us through life based on all the information and lessons it has learned before? What if we have to, like, keep living the same life, until we live it correctly and move on to whatever’s next?'”
To have this revelation within THIS iteration of Adam Blake may OR may not turn the tide for the better in his life, which begs a Bioshock Infinite and hymnal inquiry: “Will the Circle be Unbroken?”
To not give away TOO MUCH, I come across his text in this story. This is the response from a weathered physicist Dr. Meredith Palm who has an not-too-odd propensity for punctuality, as she explains a not-too-difficult task for the “immortal” Adam Blake:
“’By memorizing that sheet of paper, of course. Every number, symbol, and bit of punctuation. Spend the rest of your current life saving it all to memory. And when you live again, come pay me a visit on August 5, 2016, at my office in the Pershing Building here on campus. I’ll still be a spring chicken of a physicist at that age, and you will have arrived at the exact moment I am most receptive to this information.’”
Dr. Palm FIRMLY believes that Adam IS an anomaly the likes she has never seen before, and he will execute this plan for her in the name of Quantum Physics. Even more, she gave him a future date of 08/05/2016 (approximately a touch over 8 months from now our time: YES, Geek Moment) to where some very profound symbolism resides (in her mind and life, of course).
It is obvious to say that Adam will do it, bit what would it mean to both Adam Blake, Dr. Palm, as well as the rest of this particular world’s inhabitants? I’m not spoiling that for you, ladies and gentlemen: you will have to read that for yourselves.
If anything, to those who are very keen, they can see a lot of profound symbolism in the book: Eternal Love, the Pursuit of Happiness, Multiple life altering scenarios, and much more. On top of that, 3 different people who said practically the same thing about life: “Live for today, as if it is your last day.”
Gratuitous use of the word “and” as per the word count, it was used a lot. Between quotation marks, attribute that to character speech. At the same time, it does need to be lowered, even in spoken dialogue.
A few areas, to me, LOOKED LIKE the words in the sentences ran together. This caused me to bring this read closer to my face and wonder if that actually happened. IN MY OPINION, I say yes: the words DO look like they ran together.
AT THE SAME TIME, is the running together of words symbolic of the story? Are those words intentionally running together to SOMEHOW explain Adam Blake’s unique situation: how his memories are crashing together into an eternal stream of life history? Only Ryan Gladney can tell us.
Survey says: 8 out of 10 stars
“Nine Lives of Adam Blake” can be ultimately viewed as a story of what can, has, and will ever happen in someone’s life. If you have a penchant for Quantum Physics and Multiverse Theory, this book is for you. I recommend this read!
Thank you Mr. Controversy. Now, let’s look at what the Unleashed One says about “Nine Lives of Adam Blake”.
When I started reading “Nine Lives of Adam Blake”, it was a light reminiscence of two things—a movie and a series. One was the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray where he is living the same day over and over again.
The other was the series “Quantum Leap” where the main character was transported to different time frames, becoming different people for the purpose of righting a wrong before going on to the next time, next place and next person.
Since I was (and still am) a huge fan of Quantum Leap, I was interested to see the ability of the author to craft the concept of “Nine Lives of Adam Blake”.
There were quite a few items that didn’t really work for me in this author’s attempt.
(1) There was too much focus on the love connection between Adam and Tamar. In addition, there was nothing conveyed that would make me cheer for their union or anything that would endear me to Tamar as being a loveable character.
(2) The dialog of all the characters was stilted—at times, delivered clinically and had no purpose in adding to the narrative.
(3) The division between Adam’s lives isn’t always clear. I did have to re-read a few times to make sure which life I was on, so to speak.
(4) The word “immortal” was thrown around, which was used interchangeably with “reincarnation” when it should not have been. The state of being immortal is to never have died, but in the final part of the story, the scientist keeps referring to Adam as being “immortal”. However, this is inaccurate, since Adam constantly dies but lives again in a different way—this is more along the lines of “reincarnation”.
(5) The science fiction component is not believable. One of the authors I network with stated, “The best science fiction is based on science fact.” In this case, it is definitely true.
In my opinion, the author—in his attempt to fill some major plot holes, particularly the why—used a theory related to different dimensions and multiverses. Yet, the author didn’t establish any background for the reader to grasp this concept, nor was the method of transport between the lives given any merit. If the author had spent more time building behind the scenes instead of distracting us with Adam’s undying love for Tamar, then perhaps the explanation given would have been something I’d be willing to say, “Yes, that could possibly happen.” Instead, one is left with more questions than answers and makes it appear that the author didn’t take the time to do research or he just put this together in the hopes that no one would question the plausibility of said conclusion.
(6) The climax was less than satisfactory, making me wonder why I was journeying through Adam Blake’s nine lives in the first place.
Unleashed Verdict: 5 out of 10 TRB Stars
I do give the author credit for taking on this fascinating premise but the execution of this is lacking. If the author had done more research and dared to go beyond the love story to map out compelling possibilities to Adam Blake’s life, this definitely could have scored more stars for me.
Now let’s add the scores and divide by 3.
Overall “Nine Lives of Adam Blake” receives 7 out of 10 TRB Stars.
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