Book Review: Replay by Ken Grimwood

“All life includes loss. It’s taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don’t expect I’ll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.”

-Replay, Ken Grimwood

Jeff Winston was 43 years old when he felt something his heart, he’s stunned and just like that he died of heart attack, in the year of 1988. Suddenly he awoke in his college dorm room at Emory, the year was 1963 and once again Jeff Winston was 18 years old.

Replay started off strong, right off the bat, our protagonist died and woke up 25 years earlier in his 18 year old body. Straight away there’s intrigue, I wanted to know how and why as well as follow Jeff’s bizarre story. There was a feeling of anticipation within me, it felt like I’m about to embark on an amazing sci-fi/fantasy journey with Replay. Unfortunately the sci-fi/fantasy aspect of Replay is underwhelming. It was during the beginning of the third act where I realized that Replay is more of a Romantic novel. That said, the romance was written very well, overwhelming on certain parts but if I’m going to give the book a credit it would be hitting the romance aspect right out the park.

With this being underwhelming on the fantasy/sci-fi part, the book also suffers on some aspects. There was a part of the first act where, there was absolutely nothing going on despite the strong early chapters. The pacing could have been a lot better and with the lack of sci-fi elements the book needed a quicker pace. Another complaint is our protagonist, Jeff Winston himself, he lacked the charisma to make me root for him. Compared to his counter parts or other characters he was the least person I cared about. His character was so bland where, there were parts where women went with him mainly because he’s got money.

That said, he was smart with several of his decisions. Any smart person would do what he had done when he woke up back in 1963. He was placing bets on winning teams, investing and buying stocks on start up companies who’re eventually going to become successful. There were a lot “yes that’s exactly what I would do” moments. Though unlikable as a character at least he was smart. Also a great part of the book was Jeff’s female love interest. She was written incredibly well she was the complete opposite of Jeff in terms of likability and she’s oozing with charisma. With her around Jeff sometimes becomes an afterthought and that’s how strongly she was written.

Overall the book is a great romantic story, just don’t expect it to be heavy on the sci-fi/fantasy aspect because waking up in a younger version of yourself is as good as it gets in terms of fantasy. It wasn’t what I was expecting but in the end I was OK with it. If there’s one lesson to take about the book, it is to remember major sports win or derby wins because you will never know. Highly recommended to people who are into romance-fantasy novels but for hardcore sci-fi/fantasy fans, this won’t be for you.

Rating: 3.5/5

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