A love story that tackles homophobia and violence and spans several lifetimes.
The book is divided into four major sections, each titled as a numbered life, so readers know to expect several deaths and reincarnations. After a brief foreword in which Ordell mentions his own experiences with psychic abilities and past lives, the novel opens in 1969 during the Stonewall riots, considered by many to be the watershed event of the American gay rights movement. Amid all the chaos, Dustin and Jaime are victimized by Leon, the homophobic villain who occupies a position of authority and wields his lethal billy club throughout the text. It turns out that this is not the first time these beings have crossed paths, nor will it be the last. (Conveniently, the first letter of reborn characters’ names often remains the same.) “Life Two” is perhaps the most affecting section, as it focuses on the social anxiety, sexual confusion and intense bullying associated with adolescence and high school. However, readers may tire of wading through descriptions of colorful auras, connective cords and energy bursts as otherworldly spirits battle each other or attempt to influence earthly events. At times, the author relies too heavily upon dialogue instead of exposition, which can lead to inauthentic moments as characters exchange information that’s simply for the benefit of readers. Nevertheless, Ordell’s intricate plotting pays off in “Life Four.” In mid-21st century, progressives and conservatives struggle for control as New York City rebuilds after a devastating hurricane. Will the fated couple and their loved ones finally break the cycle of violence and revenge? Perhaps a clairvoyant character aptly named Crystal holds the key. Now 97 years old, she has survived the entire novel and published her own book, titled The Ghosts of Stonewall, about two lovers who died during the Stonewall riots six decades earlier.
A moderately entertaining reflection on the nature of karma, especially for those willing to accept its mystical premise and supernatural elements.