The Last Beginning | Lauren James | Published October 6th, 2016
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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This was So. Much. Fun! I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Next Together, and was so excited to get my hands on the next installment. As someone who doesn't really gravitate towards historical fiction or time travel, this series has the perfect blend of those two things coupled with contemporary, science fiction and romance to make it an all-round engaging and fun read.
One of the main things that really stands out in The Last Beginning is the amount of effort and care that has been taken by the author. There are a lot of small details that relate back to the first book and the number of different time landscapes could have easily been confusing but it works seamlessly. Considering how much jumping between time there is, I was never once confused and it was always clear which time period we were in. I can't praise Lauren James enough for that as I can't imagine just how tricky it must have been to keep on track!
I was really pleased that Matthew and Katherine made appearances in this book. We go back to some of the times that we visited them in the previous book, and it was so interesting to see those times from a different perspective, and for details from then to now make more sense thanks to following those stories through the eyes of someone else. Our main character this time around is Clove and her narrative was really fun. I really enjoyed the romance between her and Ella and the way it develops throughout the book without being the main focus but still has plenty of cute moments.
The format of The Last Beginning is similar to its predecessor in that its told through a series of articles, emails and social media interactions as well as standard narration. I think that's a really nice touch which fits in well with the story. I also love Clove's AI Spart who was a source of great humour!
Overall, The Last Beginning is a sequel which has been intricately woven together with its partner to create a story that is cleverly executed with a perfect blend of genres. I'm so glad I gave time travel a chance with this duology and I can't wait to read what Lauren James writes next.