this tuesday I’m gonna talk about a book I found on NetGalley (there I got “Lost Girls go Everywhere” too). “Strange Deaths of the Last Romantic” was written and will get published on 17th of November 2020 by Moses Yuriyvich Mikheyev, he is a Russian-American novelist, who first studied at Whitworth University and got his graduate degree in theological studies from Emory University. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles.
Talking about the book, I’ll start with the cover because it’s always the first part of a book you see, so automatically the first impression is made at this point.
I think the cover is quite interesting; it seems to have some flair of native American folks but at the same time, it’s designed very modern. It’s like a collage of paper, pictures and between those pieces, you see the glimpse of a girl, which stares far away. After reading the book, the girl could portray the idea of Lilyanne, a seemingly perfect girl.
The story is about Adam Micah, who discovers at the age of ten years that he cannot die. After dying, he reawakens naked somewhere, without any control about where he lands. Every time he dies, he loses more and more memoriesfrom his previous lives. As he meets the love of his life, his life seems normal again, though he knows barely who he is. Adam, who gave himself a new name: Aristotle, enjoys life again, but soon he realises again that there are people who want to use and examine his gift/curse.
The main parts are narrated from Adams view in first-person-narrator, but there are parts about other characters too, which get told by a personal narrator. Those different perspectives confused me firstly, because I didn’t know the characters and why they’re relevant, but soon it brought spice into the whole storyline because it showed different connections and led to own thoughts about what could happen next.
Mikheyev’s writing style was very figurative, for me, it was like being there and live this life full of chaos together with the main character. That caused a very uncomfortable feeling while reading the bloody parts, which fit perfectly well in the Thriller genre. But the writing style also made me get lost in the romantic parts. The poems transported so many emotions but even more so did the prose describing the surrounding scene. Considering how it was written stylistically, it is definitely worth reading.
But to be honest, I cannot say the same thing about the storyline, especially about the end. As I finished the book, I was heartbroken and a bit disappointed. It always seemed, like there was a lot potential for an interesting, good end but it didn’t happen, it was suddenly all over and brought no sense to anyone. In the author’s comment at the end of the book, Mikheyev told the reader about the process of creating this novel. He explained how it started, why he created Lilyanne without character development, how he struggled to finish the novel, how he published it and that he thinks it’s an awful book. Reading the final statement helped me a lot to understand why the end is how it is, but that does not make it any better. Some might consider endings of such kind romantic, I think it’s just sad. The story had such an interesting, thought-out start and developed in a good way, but the end was weak. The book started dramatically and exiting but ended sadly. Additionally, I recognised more mistakes in logic or rather in continuity at the last pages, for example, said Adam at the beginning that he lost his mother when he was ten years old, but at the end, he said he was seven as she died. This could be interpreted as a sign of his lost memories, but why should he be mistaken just in the age, when he lost other disturbing memories completely and not just partly? Why place such a small, single hint? Also, it is said that it’s about the year 2025 when Adam reawakens in a field, but that would make no sense because he died in 2010 and it’s said in the second part of the chapter that it was fifteen years ago when he woke up in this field, so why not say it’s about the year 2025 at the beginning of the second part, like it was done before?
As this is the first published version, I assume mistakes like these get corrected, so that’s no reason to say the book would be no good. To judge a book, I always ask myself, if I would read it again. Well, for this one I can say, by all means, I’m gonna read some parts again. I’m sensible to bloody and cruel scenes and love romantic, so the parts I’m gonna reread are probably the good times between Aristotle and Lilyanne. As said before, I really like the style of Mikheyev’s writing, but the story wasn’t that good. So, I’ll do what one can do only with literature and movies: I’ll pick the good parts and live them over and over again.
Hope you’re having a good time,
PS: If you are interested now in the book, you can buy it for example on amazon, here is the link to Strange Deaths of the Last Romantic: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KPMR2LS