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Alexios, Before Dying (Books of Alexios)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  25 reviews
1924. In New York City, an eleven year old girl with symptoms of synesthesia befriends a street performer. They dream of rivaling Houdini until the magician endangers them both by stealing wrist watches.

1984. In Mexico, a dying woman wanders lost in the desert. She encounters a shaman, a delirious New York artist, ransom-seeking desperadoes, an unlikely villain, a dolphin,
Paperback, 1st Edition, 252 pages
Published December 12th 2011 by Createspace
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L.H. Thomson
Alexios, Before Dying is a somewhat daunting book to review, as it borders on the experimental, setting up tangible connections between seemingly unconnected characters, then introducing a conclusion that is so utterly original as to be almost baffling.

It's a beautifully written book, a work of craft reminiscent of some of the best writing of Terry Southern or Ken Kesey.

Nonetheless, the lack of a defined and familiar conclusion is truly daunting. It's as if someone set up a plot where "A" led t
4 Stars, I really liked it!

Alexios Before Dying is unlike any other book that I have read before. -And I mean that as a compliment. This book is the perfect example for why I love goodreads so much. Goodreads has introduced me to a lot of new books that I would have normally not picked up on my own, but now that I have, I am very glad that I did.
Alexios before Dying is, at times, a surprisingly cerebral book, in that it asks you to step outside of yourself and look at something that most peopl
T.B. Markinson
Right from the start, this novel hooked me. I loved Velia and The Magician and I found their story intriguing. Then the book switched gears and introduced us to Kimi in Mexico. Then again, she switched and introduced an American graduate student visiting Saudi Arabia.

At first, I was disappointed that the author jumped around so much. But once I started to make the connections between the three stories, I was hooked once again. The author impressed me with her ability to weave three stories toge
Michael Herrman
I want to avoid addressing issues of plot in this review, primarily because Alexios is a logic-puzzle without a solution.

This is one of the more literary novels I’ve read, and to be 100% honest it’s one of the very few non-genre works that I’ve actually enjoyed. I’m aware that some will think me shallow for saying so, but I don’t particularly mind. In truth, my stabs at post-modern literature have been largely abortive (Come Thou, Tortoise was the most recent) because the books either struck me
Books such as this one are hard to write reviews of. For one, there’s a real danger of giving away important plot elements. It’s not too much of a giveaway to state that one enters this book like a giant labyrinth, in which the way “forward” is anything but evident. Characters are thrown into the universe, and the link between them is initially unclear.

We start with Velia, a young black girl in 1924 New York City, who has a severe case of synesthesia. She becomes the apprentice of a street perfo
C.L. Nangirac
I found this author’s first novel enjoyable and intriguing having both depth of theme and a richness of language. The plot unfolds at multiple levels and time periods weaving an evocative view of the nature of life and its connectedness to after-life. The reader will discover both the author’s original ideas regarding metaphysics as well as timeless truths woven into compelling storytelling. Be prepared to discover aspects of yourself disguised as characters in the book along with other characte ...more
Sean DeLauder
At last! This review is the culmination of a long and tragic period during which I wanted to read on, but could only peel away time for it in frustrating slices. If my review is disjointed and nonsensical, I blame Time for its failure to properly encompass all my responsibilities and leave room for reading as well.

To start, I enjoyed Maree’s writing style. That’s actually a pretty big component to my enjoyment of a story. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a variety of styles, from the sparse and s
John Patterson
Alexios, Before Dying is a daring and successful attempt to explore the connections between people who live seemingly disparate lives. The author starts out telling little bits of each characters story chapter by chapter. The characters lives start to intersect in sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle ways. A common theme throughout all of these stories involves the different ways people experience their religions. From one characters fanatical belief in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God to two ot ...more
Cherokee Randolph
Alexios, Before Dying

It is 1924. Velia is a little black girl who lives in New York who is harassed on her way to school by a pack of boys. The Magician watches her from his window and cares about her. When she is struck by a car, he is first on the scene and (being as how her injuries are not too severe) he becomes her deepest friend. Velia is not an ordinary little girl. She has the ability to know things others can’t.

It is 1984. Kimi is a second wife and the stepmother of a boy who must spend
The blurb for this book doesn't do it justice. Actually, the blurb only has a passing resemblance to the story in terms of bookfeel (kinda like "mouthfeel" for foodstuffs). I especially enjoyed the characters and life stories of the first 3/4 of the book. The last quarter was a bit too surreal to mesh perfectly with the more realistic beginning so it took a bit of mental gear shifting on my part to link it all up, but the writing itself flowed seamlessly.

Won this as a Firstreads advance reader
Tom Conyers
'Alexois, Before Dying' - which is a great title in itself: unique and intriguing - details seemingly disparate lives taking place in various countries in different times. In 1924, in New York, we are introduced to a remarkable girl Veila and the magician she befriends. In 1984, in Mexico, we meet Kimi who wanders the desert in search of meaning, encountering death and intrigue. In 2004, in Saudi Arabia, a graduate student, Leta, goes on a pilgrimage which puts her freedom and very life in dange ...more
I was lucky enough to win a copy of Alexios, Before Dying through a Goodreads giveaway. I found it to be a unique and beautifully written novel. Each storyline was captivating and full of intriguing, original characters. A deep and fascinating read that lingers with you even after you've finished. It's clear that Chance Maree has a great talent and I am looking forward to reading more from her.
Karen Fitzjerrell
At times Alexios, Before Dying is so originally and brilliantly written that I staggered as if blown off balance by a strong wind. The book begs the question: how do we explain or justify our thoughts, our beliefs. And what happens to the energy those thoughts sparked after we die. The story offered new angles for looking at the truths of experiences and religious doctrine. All this from an extremely gifted writer - not just for her obvious writing skill which is off the charts - but for her pow ...more
I was also lucky to win this book on Goodreads. It is not a book I would have normally read. The author, in my opinion, is talented beyond words. I think the average reader would have a hard time digesting her prose...she weaves her story and characters in such a clever way. A beautiful book.
Richard Bunning
First off, this is a very well written book, and a very good example of the sort of original work that self-publishing has saved from the traditional publishing houses waste-bins. Perhaps in more enlightened times, ones less focused on the bogey of profit before enterprise, Chance would have found a main stream publisher. Fortunately ePublishing allows inventive authors to ignore the traditional paths.
This is a thinker’s read, not a high-brow pretentious one, but definitely cerebral. Amongst my
Eric M.
This is a very interesting book -- a view of 'life' after life. The first
2/3 to 3/4 of the book could be considered a conventional story centered on
the lives of three women. there are hints of something else going on, but it is
not until the last 1/4 to 1/3 that the 'something else' becomes the story and
re-casts the first portion of the book into a different light. the author has
done a very good job of weaving the story together. i found it to be a
relatively fast, but good read. i recommend it.
Full of rich vibrant characters and settings. because of the seemingly unrelated sequence of chapters I found this book to be hard to get into at first, but if the reader is patient and pays attention they will be rewarded with a unique and engrossing tale with very subtle links from one chapter to another that grow more obvious as the story develops. I very much enjoyed this unusual story and was glad I persisted past the first couple of chapters.
Wendy ~M/M Junkie~
I recieved this book free through goodreads first-reads, but that has in no way effected my opinion.
I was drawn into this book from the very beginning. It was an original story at least from my perspective. I haven't read anything like it before. Chance Maree was a new author for me and I enjoyed what I read. I will be looking for more of her work in the future. I would recomend this title.
Shannon Lovejoy
I received this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I really liked the way this book was written. Each chapter tells a story about a different character or set of characters and it all ties together in the end. I love the way the author connects everyone. This book is a delightful and enjoyable read.
I don't do reviews, but I will say that I was suprised as to how smooth and flowing this book was to read. I've had a lot to deal with while reading this book and it was a nice get-away that actually made me think about; and appreciate, life's little secrets. Expertly written and definitely worth picking up.
Phoenix Carvelli
Review copy provided by

This was a very interesting and intriguing read. It is well written and quite thought provoking.
I thought it developed well but then became almost another story with same characters. As a whole the book was enjoyable.
Jodi Woody
I was given a copy of this book by the author, Chance Maree, for an honest review. The very first page grabbed my attention and I liked the book from the start. The characters, a little girl, Velia Gray, and The Magician, were also likeable from the start. I enjoyed the first couple of chapters; the author does a good job with the way she writes of getting you sucked into the story. Then about half way, I started to lose some interest, then things got weird and by the end the story totally lost ...more
Aug 31, 2013 Dionisia marked it as abandoned
I had my eye on this book for some time so was very happy to get my hands on a copy shortly after it was published. The Goodreads' giveaway program is a nice way to get introduced to new authors but there is always the chance that I'll come upon a story that just doesn't click with me. This book has been languishing on my currently reading list for over a year now. Time to face the facts. I've lost complete interest in this story.

There are so many books I want to read, so many stories I want to
Apr 02, 2012 Mayor marked it as to-read
This novel sounds intriguing, with a fascinating cast of characters and issues.
My son is a synesthete (he hears colors in music), and I'd love to read this author's take on the subject.
Chance Maree
Nov 01, 2015 Chance Maree added it  ·  (Review from the author)
O. Poole
O. Poole marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2015
Chanel Earl
Chanel Earl marked it as to-read
May 16, 2015
Mike Robbins
Mike Robbins marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2015
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There once was a young man, fiery by Sicilian and Cherokee blood, whose service in the U.S. Marines gave him the courage to win the love of the woman he most desired. He and this tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed German beauty renounced their scrabble upbringing, that concrete box of city life—they were lured instead by country roads, nature's serenades, and untrimmed pastures.

To their daughter, Chan
More about Chance Maree...

Other Books in the Series

Books of Alexios (4 books)
  • Velia and the Magician (Book 1 of Alexios, 1924)
  • Kimi and the Shaman (Book 2 of Alexios, 1984)
  • Leta and the Sufi (Book 3 of Alexios, 2004)

Share This Book

“Velia, without pausing in her artwork, said, “Can’t trick nobody not looking to be tricked.” 1 likes
“Honesty is slender, wasp-waisted and often stings.” 0 likes
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