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Nine Lives of Adam Blake

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Adam Blake knows what fate awaits him after death. He has died before, and will die again, and always it’s the same. For Adam, there is no heaven, no hell, no reincarnation, or cold, final sleep. When he dies, his life flashes before his eyes; it rushes backward—nothing skipped or overlooked—until it stops, suddenly, at age twelve, one week after he had mysteriously disappeared in the woods behind his childhood home. Then, he wakes up.

Adam is cursed—or blessed—to relive the same life again and again, from this moment onward, regardless of how he lives, who he becomes, or what ultimately causes next his demise. He is free to right past wrongs, avoid past mistakes, pursue any interest and chase any dream. But the longer Adam lives, the less anything matters but answers. He must know: Why is he stuck in this loop? What is its cause? How will it end? And what awaits him on the other side of death when it finally does?

218 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 22, 2014

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About the author

Ryan Gladney

1 book20 followers
Ryan Gladney is the author of Nine Lives of Adam Blake, released in February 2014.

Ryan was born in St. Louis, and has lived in Boston, Orange Country, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, and Minnesota. He attended college at the University of Michigan. When not writing (or working), Ryan spends most of his time with his wife, son, and cats. He’s an active book-clubber, kickballer, bike-rider, brunch-eater, and live music aficionado. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
December 21, 2014

This book was nothing like I expected, and I loved it! Ryan Gladney blew my mind with this amazing and sophisticated gem of a novel. This story touched my soul in such a way that I have to pause and wonder if it was fate that I won the giveaway for this. Sorry if my gushing induces any eye rolling, I am just so in love with this book.

Nine lives of Adam Blake is the kind of book that just makes everything click, and put everything in perspective. It's the kind of book that you devour late at night, and when you finish the last page and close the book, you stare in a daze wondering what the hell kind of magic just happened.

The writing is effortless and flows seamlessly. The main character is supremely relatable and the plot kept my interest, there was never a part of this book where I was bored or wondering when it was going to end, and for a book with a plot centering on a man who lives the same life over and over again that is very impressive.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on this author, my hat is off to him for this impressive debut. 5/5

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Author 5 books47 followers
October 15, 2014
Okay, WOW. This book SCREAMS classic. I saw the potential this book has and I am actually shocked that this book hasn't gotten that many reviews. I can see this book becoming a nice classic like The adventures of huckleberry finn or Run, Rabbit. Not that they are of the same genres, though.

Warning. There might be some spoilers, but this is strictly for review purposes.

So... the title didn't grab my attention. It's bland and boring. It isn't very unique or exciting. But then again "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a horrible title too, BUT it became a best seller and a classic in american history. Nine Lives of Adam Blake has the same potential.

As soon as Adam Blake starts his second life, I was hooked. There's so many ways you can write a book about reincarnation, and so many ways you can explain it. Multiverse, reincarnation, time travel. But Ryan Gladney most another theory. That repeating actually is heaven. Sounds a little more like hell, right? Repeating the same life over and over again, doomed to see your loved ones die over and over again, and being stuck in a rut. Most people would think that immortality is a curse rather than a gift. And those who are greedy would find it a blessing, only to continue being greedy. Well, this book takes a different direction, and that's what made it absolutely unique.

Adam is a dynamic character. He's already an adult in his first life when he dies. Then, he wakes up as a 12 year old. And he does so in every life.

Through each life, he tries to do different things, explore around the world, try different careers and meet different people. The romance in the book is absolutely marvelous. it's not enough to be considered a romance novel, but it plays a major part in Adam's character development. At first, he always tries to end up with Tamar and marry her but after his attitude toward this... reincarnating immortality changes, Adam does not have to try to do anything. And it's so sweet how he learns patience (then again, you'd kind of have to if you're forced to live more than one life) and he realizes how the universe always finds a way to make their paths meet. It's almost like they were meant to be together.

So as expected, Adam starts to see this phenomenon as a curse, until he meets Meredith, who explains a theory about Adam's condition, and absolutely changes Adam's perception of "forever".

How do you fill forever? How do you live without purpose or goal? If life goes on forever, if fate remains the same despite the different paths you take, what meaning is there left to life at all?

Instead of thinking like "I have to life over and over again and watch those I love die." he starts thinking a little more like a Buddhist; not dwelling in the past or focusing on the future, but concentrating in the present. Life is meant to be lived as a joyful steady procession of everlasting nows. That's how you can be happy with immortality.

SO what adam thinks now, is that maybe this is heaven on earth. He is guaranteed an eternity with the people he loves. Adam reaches an amazing level of enlightenment. He appreciated life to the very second and can experience everything all around him and find it absolutely fascinating. the limitless possibilities, and the subtle changes within Tamar and his loved ones. Ryan describes Adam's relationship with Tamar's like "a story told between old friends over and over again." and I quote, "There are new highlights, new twists, particulars that change over time, but the joy is in its familiarity and the memory it evokes."

This is a MUST READ. For EVERYBODY. It does more than pass on the morals and the message Ryan wants to communicate with the readers. It also reminds us to appreciate the Majesty of life itself. Perspective and attitude can change the view of something negative to be positive.

Overall, I was more than impressed by this book. I would even say that it's perfect. Characters are believable and "feel" real, especially in the dialogue. There were absolutely no grammatical or spelling errors. It was very neat and organized, and it has exceptional creative and descriptive writing.

it is 2.99 for around 218 pages. It seems a little pricey for a self-published book of that length. But the quality of it gives off the impression that it's been a bestseller and it is so much more than just "a good read".

Congratulations Ryan Gladney, you've written yourself a damn good book.
Profile Image for TL .
1,791 reviews35 followers
October 27, 2014
I received this via Goodreads First reads in exchange for an honest review.

An interesting tale... Adam finds himself living the same life over and over... each time coming back as atwelve year old after he mysteriously disappeared in the woods. No matter what path he takes, ormhow he dies, he always comes back. Adam's sear ch for answers takes place over many lifetimes, and as answers elude him, he wonders what his purpose is, if he has any

I enjoyed this story and getting to know Adam throughout each of his lives, seeing how his different choices and knowledge from past choices influencing what he did.

Yet, it sort of felt like Adam kept us at arms length and never let us in all the way.. sometimes the side characters didn't get much screen time so I couldn't Connect to them fully.

Sometimes the time changes between lives was confusing, found myself going back and reading certain passages again to make sure where I was at.

The explanation at the end made sense but so did Adam's in it's own way. The answer isn't definite, but open-ended somewhat. I thought so that would bother me but it didn't.

I would recommend, not a perfect book but a well done first novel.

Happy reading!
46 reviews
October 22, 2014
I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This book is probably one of the best independently published books I've read, especially in a long while. It was nothing like I'd expected! I was expecting a lot of weird, paranormal happenings haunting every page (because I'd been recommended to read it from the Book Group I've joined), so I was surprised when I realized it was anything but. That's not to say that the story is not gripping. The writing in this book is excellent. The descriptions and insight into Adam Blake's character are beautiful, and the concepts are amazing as they are presented throughout the narrative.

Gladney paints multiple lives, in more ways that one, and the amount of philosophy that is attached gives the reader more than enough to think about. I found it so hard to put down! The descriptions and the world(s) are so intricately portrayed, that when you realize what has been foreshadowed, it simply blows your mind. On that same topic, the foreshadowing is subtle, almost frustrating when you come across it, but in that good way that good writing has, and really brings the entire story together.

For criticism, and the only things keeping this book from five stars, I have to comment on the dialogue and the minor characters. The dialogue doesn't vary too much from character to character, but it is obvious why Tamar and Adam are constantly a match. They share the same tendencies throughout the entire book. (That's not a spoiler, by the way, it's part of the whole premise.) However, while the two main characters are certainly vibrant, and their personalities are great, they almost seem too similar. It's the same with all the minor characters, from Ruthie to Meredith to Tamar's parents: they all have the same mannerisms and harsh attitudes. I feel that that was what really drew this story back, was just the lack of variation. Fortunately, the sheer inner turmoil that haunted Adam throughout the book overcame that, giving the reader more to focus on.

Besides that, the only other criticism I have is that it was too short! Honestly, after the climax, which wasn't so much action-filled as it was emotionally inspiring, the story wrapped up so quickly, and it felt like there was more to be told. Not that it felt rushed at all, no; it was extremely well written. All I can say is that I'm left wanting more, with so many questions left unanswered! I feel like a whole other book could be written just to tell more of Adam's story!

Overall, a fantastic first book by Ryan Gladney, and I look forward to reading more!
Profile Image for S.J. Pierce.
Author 25 books399 followers
January 20, 2015
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews and book-related things, visit my blog at www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com

Where to begin with a story like this? It’s so uniquely crafted and worlds apart from anything I’m used to reading. When I accepted this book for review, I knew I was stepping out of my typical reading comfort zone, but man… am I glad I did. This part fantasy, part sci-fi, part paranormal, part contemporary novel (okay, I know all those things sound like my typical reads, but I assure you, this book is not lol) does more than entertain, it wakens the part of your psyche that often lies dormant – the part that rises above the day to day motions and grasps for a bigger meaning to our lives. It challenges you to think twice about the decisions you make and how that can affect not only your life, but others’ lives around you. And that, my lovelies, is the mark of a fantastic story: entertaining, yet thought provoking.

Here’s the skinny:

The Good:

All of it. The writing, the character development, the premise, the message… all of it! You can tell from the get-go that Mr. Gladney took his time developing and fine tuning and fleshing out every little detail, down to when he reveals the answer to the big question: why in the world is Adam reliving his life over and over in a Groundhog Day type way? And let me tell you, everything you think you might know, or can come up with as an explanation (if you can even come up with anything at all) is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And even though the explanation leaves you as deflated as the character in a reeling, HOLY CRAP, kind of way, you come to realize (like him) that the utter bleakness of it all is actually the beauty of it. Because, at the end of the day, your purpose is found in not some groundbreaking revelation, it’s in the way you live your life and what you do with what’s handed to you. And in Adam’s case, an infinite number of times. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Perhaps we are better off living every moment—every action, idea, choice, and word—as if it were the very reason we were born. How much more beauty and meaning would you find in everyday things if that were your approach? Imagine a life in which each day is engaged with sacredness and honor, as if it were the most important in the world...”

So let’s talk a little about the actual storyline, shall we? At the end of every life, Adam wakes up at twelve-years-old in a hospital bed, only to relive his fairly ordinary life in an extraordinary way – with memories of his past lives still vivid in his mind. So basically, when he’s reliving his younger years again and again, he’s an old soul trapped in a young man’s body. He experiences the same traumas (out of his realm of influence), but learns how to make the best of them each time around. He meets Tamar, his (quite literally) endless love, whom he gets to meet, court, fall in love with and marry over and over again (after he finally gets it right). To some, that might sound boring, but as Adam comes to realize, it truly is a gift. Our lives are already (and should be) shadowed with a "we only get one chance, so we need to make it count" way of thinking, but what if you got multiple chances? Infinite chances? Were able to right some wrongs? Do things differently? Do everything differently? It blew my mind, to be honest.

And here is the part where I make my point regarding Ryan Gladley’s storytelling ability: if your story revolves around a character experiencing the same thing over and over, yet you still successfully engage the reader (not one time was I bored) and leave them wanting to buy the book in print (which I did!) so you can read it over and over again to infinity and beyond (pun intended) then you know you have chops. And you, Mr. Gladney, have chops. :)

The Bad:

Nothing to say in this category.

The Ugly:

Nothing to say in this category.

In conclusion, if you read anything at all this year, it needs to be this compelling, thought-provoking story of life, love and how the decisions we make can greatly alter both of them. Unlike Adam, we don’t get an infinite number of chances, so let’s make the most of the ones we have now.

Favorite Quote:

"Do not dwell in the past, or dream of the future, but concentrate on the present moment... It is only when the past is forgotten, and the future released from our worried grasp, that life may be lived as truly intended: as a joyful, steady procession of everlasting nows.
Profile Image for Marigold Dicer.
Author 1 book8 followers
February 9, 2015
This is a different sort of time-travel book, one where the main character, upon his death, gets transported back in his own lifetime to his twelve-year old self. Adam Blake gets to go through his life again and again, making new discoveries and pursuits in order to be the best he could be, thinking that that would be the path to end his (quite literal) life cycle. But then, what is the ‘best’ we can be?
I was hooked by the mystery presented in this book. Every life he lived was very different, mostly from the choices he made, but then the plot thickens when there are changes in the world that cannot be contributed to Adam and his actions. He explores all possible causes for this by pursuing spiritual, religious and scientific theories. I really connected with Adam’s story. He was an understandably flawed person in his first life (which I always like, since none of us are perfect), and all the characters made up a tangible, interesting world.
This is a shorter sort of book, and I loved it. I fell right into the ripping yarn, and ate up all the contemplations on life, how it works, and what we choose to do with it. A great story wrapped in some very interesting ideas. Looking forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.
Highly recommended, especially for people who like genre-defying books.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile".
1,901 reviews240 followers
September 6, 2015
This one sounded like Groundhog Day and I had to read it. Of course, it is not a comedy. Interesting read. 3.5 stars

Some passages I highlighted:

"For it is only when the past is forgotten and the future released from our worried grasp that life may be lived as truly intended; as a joyful, steady procession of everlasting nows."

"Perhaps we are better off living every moment - every action, idea, choice, and word - as if it were the very reason we were born. How much more beauty and meaning would you find in everyday things if that were your approach?"

"Stop obsessing over the life you wish you had. You need to find a way to enjoy the one you're living now."

Adam Blake is faced with these thoughts/philosophies over and over again trying to answer the meaning of his life.
Profile Image for Heidi.
518 reviews3 followers
August 25, 2014
Ryan Gladney pulls you into this book with the first sentence and keeps you intrigued to the very end. I was very pleased with this book, it is a bit different from what I usually read but is still in the basic genre I enjoy. Adam Blake is by no means any different than you or I in his struggles and concerns, but what happens to him and what he learns is. Once I got started on this book I couldn't put it down! I tried at midnight but I just kept wondering what was going to happen when Adam died again and was forced to live his life from age 12 all over again. I was not disappointed! I highly recommend Nine Lives of Adam Blake, it is well written and intriguing. Thank you Ryan Gladney for gifting me this wonderful read!
Profile Image for Chris Bernardi.
23 reviews
April 22, 2014
A sign of great things to come

Nine Lives is the premier book from author Ryan Gladney. It's story touches of something we have all questioned at one point in our lives and at very depths: why are we here? What's our purpose? The story builds quickly and takes some unexpected turns yet moves quickly, keeping the reader engaged. I look forward to more from Ryan.
Profile Image for Dylan.
27 reviews4 followers
May 22, 2014
What a fantastic book from a first time writer.
I was impressed with the story, left me wanting more and more.
I read this in 24 hours. Could not get enough.
Profile Image for Daniel.
2,362 reviews37 followers
October 25, 2017
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.25 of 5

Adam Blake is a young, pre-teen boy who is stuck in a never-ending loop of re-living his life. But each life he lives is not exactly the same as the one before it or the one before that. Adam can remember each life and make changes. He can follow a different path, make different decisions. The only constant is that he will return - older (in over-all years lives) and (presumably) wiser.

This might sound wonderful at first, but as Adam continues to relive the same life it has him seriously contemplating the meaning of life and welcoming the idea of death.

There is a lot to like in this self-published novel. Author Ryan Gladney addresses some pretty sophisticated ideas in this book that is most likely targeted toward a middle school audience. Longevity and mortality are tough to think about at a young age. The amassing of wealth - the accumulation of scientific knowledge. This is not typical young reading fare, which is what makes this book a little tough to categorize.

So...why do we need to categorize it? Isn't it okay to stand out on its own? Sure. But an author wants to reach his or her optimal audience and typically any book featuring a preteen main character is typically considered a book for children.

I liked the writing and I liked the themes. This is not a book that my teenage boys would enjoy, despite their enjoy a wide range of science fiction and fantasy because of the young age of the character, but distance (in my case) has allowed me to read YA and mid-grade fantasy and enjoy.

Looking for a good book? Nine Lives of Adam Blake by Ryan Gladney is a good read though maybe a bit tough for the target audience.
Profile Image for Andrew.
Author 5 books3 followers
December 25, 2015
Ryan Gladney’s odyssey titled “Nine Lives of Adam Blake” is about a man who experiences death after making a ridiculous series of decisions.

After getting himself offed in a car accident which involved an 18-wheeler (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE), 30-year-old Adam Blake is killed while trying to reconcile with his girlfriend Tamar. He awakens in a hospital where his deceased mother was there to greet him.


DECEASED MOTHER?! He is dead, yet he awakens?! How is this possible? Even more, he awakens in that very hospital at age 12: apologetic for what he had done!

Seems to me that Adam Blake is experiencing and feeling a bit of his inner Bill Murray as he undergoes his own “Groundhog Day”!

No, no, no…

This is heavier than the day of the groundhog: Adam Blake is almost like Booker Dewitt from Bioshock Infinite!

Let’s checklist to confirm this theory:

-Handsome, old-fashioned, and tormented soul: CHECK.

-Booze hound and a gambler (of his life, specifically), like Booker Dewitt: CHECK.

-Regretful actions, which caused his life to be ruined: CHECK.

-Stuck in an endless loop that is his life, until he gets it right: CHECK.

-Memories remembered, and recollected: CHECK.

(Yes: I placed the commas in checklist items 2-4 ON PURPOSE, as you are about to see)

Handsome, old-fashioned, tormented, booze hound, regretful, stuck in an endless loop (multiverse theory) until he sees the errors of his ways while remembering bits and pieces of his past lives…

Yep: Adam Blake IS Booker Dewitt!

Holy crap, dude. Holy. Crap.

There is, however, a catch/difference: Booker Dewitt’s iterations had nose bleeds when recalling events from other timelines. Adam Blake’s iterations carried those events and memories over with neither nosebleeds nor problems: indicating Multiverse Theory.

In this particular scenario, Adam Blake is Schrödinger’s Cat, trying to get his one Butterfly Effected life in line and on track so that he may move on.

He marvels at his 12-year-old reflection in the mirror of his childhood home in this mulligan, remembering long forgotten memories as well as recalling his older years.

I would like to, at this time, share a VERY specific excerpt from this story. Adam has a revelation that blows his mind, and even impressed MY mind. He speaks to his sister Ruthie about what life may VERY WELL be (on a Quantum Physics level) while playing “Super Mario Bros.”:

“‘I mean, what if that’s how it is? What if all of us—you, me, everyone—are just like Mario? We’re inside the game, living out iteration after iteration of the same life, gradually improving but totally clueless to it all? Maybe our soul or some part of us is outside the game, and it guides us through life based on all the information and lessons it has learned before? What if we have to, like, keep living the same life, until we live it correctly and move on to whatever’s next?'”

To have this revelation within THIS iteration of Adam Blake may OR may not turn the tide for the better in his life, which begs a Bioshock Infinite and hymnal inquiry: “Will the Circle be Unbroken?”

To not give away TOO MUCH, I come across his text in this story. This is the response from a weathered physicist Dr. Meredith Palm who has an not-too-odd propensity for punctuality, as she explains a not-too-difficult task for the “immortal” Adam Blake:

“’By memorizing that sheet of paper, of course. Every number, symbol, and bit of punctuation. Spend the rest of your current life saving it all to memory. And when you live again, come pay me a visit on August 5, 2016, at my office in the Pershing Building here on campus. I’ll still be a spring chicken of a physicist at that age, and you will have arrived at the exact moment I am most receptive to this information.’”

Dr. Palm FIRMLY believes that Adam IS an anomaly the likes she has never seen before, and he will execute this plan for her in the name of Quantum Physics. Even more, she gave him a future date of 08/05/2016 (approximately a touch over 8 months from now our time: YES, Geek Moment) to where some very profound symbolism resides (in her mind and life, of course).

It is obvious to say that Adam will do it, bit what would it mean to both Adam Blake, Dr. Palm, as well as the rest of this particular world’s inhabitants? I’m not spoiling that for you, ladies and gentlemen: you will have to read that for yourselves.

If anything, to those who are very keen, they can see a lot of profound symbolism in the book: Eternal Love, the Pursuit of Happiness, Multiple life altering scenarios, and much more. On top of that, 3 different people who said practically the same thing about life: “Live for today, as if it is your last day.”

Gratuitous use of the word “and” as per the word count, it was used a lot. Between quotation marks, attribute that to character speech. At the same time, it does need to be lowered, even in spoken dialogue.

A few areas, to me, LOOKED LIKE the words in the sentences ran together. This caused me to bring this read closer to my face and wonder if that actually happened. IN MY OPINION, I say yes: the words DO look like they ran together.

AT THE SAME TIME, is the running together of words symbolic of the story? Are those words intentionally running together to SOMEHOW explain Adam Blake’s unique situation: how his memories are crashing together into an eternal stream of life history? Only Ryan Gladney can tell us.

“Nine Lives of Adam Blake” can be ultimately viewed as a story of what can, has, and will ever happen in someone’s life. If you have a penchant for Quantum Physics and Multiverse Theory, this book is for you. I recommend this read!
35 reviews1 follower
December 14, 2020
There are many types of books in this genre but I appreciate the grittiness and regrets in this book. Makes you think about what things are really important and if you should live in the moment more.
Profile Image for J.B. Garner.
Author 20 books60 followers
December 30, 2014
From jbgarner58.wordpress.com:

It doesn’t matter if you are a literary foodie sampling a wide variety of gourmet morsels from around the literary world or a mad scrabbling Starving Reviewer simply trying to get enough to eat. The fact remains that if you don’t take a moment to cleanse your palate between dishes, you can turn it into one big mush. After my recent spate of undercooked, overspiced dishes, I was about ready turn a blind eye to the next book on my plate. Thank the literary Gods that I took that long drink of water, swished, and spat or else I would have, well, let’s save that for the actual review, shall we?

Speaking of that, let us recite the sacred Starving Review creed:

I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre.
I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.

Nine Lives is a sublimely tasty treat. There, it’s said, it’s out of the way. Yes, it’s not like me, one who saves that crucial final verdict for last in an effort to sustain some culinary drama, but I find there’s no need for me to do such when a literary dish is just so honestly good-tasting. However, we won’t leave it at that because to do so would be a disservice to Mr. Gladney’s work in the kitchen. What makes Nine Lives so delightful on the tongue then?

Let’s be frank: a book like this that delves so directly into metaphysics and the like can very easily turn sour. It’s only a small step from the delicate flavors of pontification and exploration into the rank notes of arrogance and stubbornness. Add to that the dramatic difficulties that can be faced by approaching subjects such as life, death, and reincarnation and still holding a cohesive and driving plot steady and you can see why it is so easy to mess up the recipe. Nine Lives dances through these rough culinary waters with ease.

The narrative remains rock solid throughout the entire book and that narrative and plot keeps you invested, nibbling through bite after bite, never hitting a clump of philosophy or an underdone mess of metaphysics. It’s a smooth blend the whole way. It’s well paced, well written, and keeps a strong and consistent voice throughout. The characters themselves, something that can be left on the back burner in tales of this sort, are prominent and well-realized, providing an important focal point for the plot itself.

As for the metaphysical parts, Mr. Gladney’s thoughts and insights were nuanced and well-presented. It never felt ham-fisted or shoved down the throat. To add a certain extra note of joy to this particular eater, Gladney approaches the main philosophical wrinkle of the piece from many sides without declaring any one side the ‘correct’ or ‘winning’ side instead illustrating what each mindset has to offer and the problems each can present, showing a certain open-mindedness without going so far as to be a doormat to conflicting ideas.

So, in closing, this Starving Reviewer can only say that Nine Lives of Adam Blake is an insightful, well-written book, weaving a nearly perfect blend of philosophy, metaphysics, drama, and romance to produce a delightful meal. I would happily recommend you give this one a try and I look forward to Mr. Gladney’s next book.

FINAL VERDICT: ***** (A metaphysical medley of tastes that never loses sight of what makes books good: story and character!)
Profile Image for Queen Spades.
Author 46 books56 followers
January 14, 2016
Note: This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When I started reading “Nine Lives of Adam Blake”, it was a light reminiscence of two things—a movie and a series. One was the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray where he is living the same day over and over again.

The other was the series “Quantum Leap” where the main character was transported to different time frames, becoming different people for the purpose of righting a wrong before going on to the next time, next place and next person.

Since I was (and still am) a huge fan of Quantum Leap, I was interested to see the ability of the author to craft the concept of “Nine Lives of Adam Blake”.

There were quite a few items that didn’t really work for me in this author’s attempt.

(1) There was too much focus on the love connection between Adam and Tamar. In addition, there was nothing conveyed that would make me cheer for their union or anything that would endear me to Tamar as being a loveable character.

(2) The dialog of all the characters was stilted—at times, delivered clinically and had no purpose in adding to the narrative.

(3) The division between Adam’s lives isn’t always clear. I did have to re-read a few times to make sure which life I was on, so to speak.

(4) The word “immortal” was thrown around, which was used interchangeably with “reincarnation” when it should not have been. The state of being immortal is to never have died, but in the final part of the story, the scientist keeps referring to Adam as being “immortal”. However, this is inaccurate, since Adam constantly dies but lives again in a different way—this is more along the lines of “reincarnation”.

(5) The science fiction component is not believable. One of the authors I network with stated, “The best science fiction is based on science fact.” In this case, it is definitely true.

In my opinion, the author—in his attempt to fill some major plot holes, particularly the why—used a theory related to different dimensions and multiverses. Yet, the author didn’t establish any background for the reader to grasp this concept, nor was the method of transport between the lives given any merit. If the author had spent more time building behind the scenes instead of distracting us with Adam’s undying love for Tamar, then perhaps the explanation given would have been something I’d be willing to say, “Yes, that could possibly happen.” Instead, one is left with more questions than answers and makes it appear that the author didn’t take the time to do research or he just put this together in the hopes that no one would question the plausibility of said conclusion.

(6) The climax was less than satisfactory, making me wonder why I was journeying through Adam Blake’s nine lives in the first place.

I do give the author credit for taking on this fascinating premise but the execution of this is lacking. If the author had done more research and dared to go beyond the love story to map out compelling possibilities to Adam Blake’s life, this definitely could have scored more stars for me.

This is actually about 2.25 stars for me.
Profile Image for Frederick Crook.
Author 18 books13 followers
December 31, 2015
This book sent me into a tenseness that I often experience when indulging in a “Groundhog Day”-type of story. I’m uncomfortable, but curious. Entertained, yet annoyed. This in no way dissuades me from watching “Groundhog Day” over and over as the years go by, nor do I shy away from that one episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” where the Enterprise gets blown up again and again.
Adam Blake is stuck in a loop, reasons unknown, for duration unknown. He has lived time and again for entire lifespans, dying at an old age, or in an effort to ‘hit the reset button’ as it were, he takes himself out.
What seems to be the driving force behind all this, the focal point, really, is a girl. The opening scene of each new life is a birthday celebration where a friend’s sister stops by the bar/restaurant where it takes place. His happiness for that current run depends on the choices he makes that night. Does he say or do something dumb to turn her off, or does he do everything right and they live happily ever after until…THWACK!
There he is again…same bar…same celebration…same choices to make and he remembers it all.
So, you may think I’ve given a lot away here, but honestly, that’s just the set up. The characters are decently built, though at times, Adam seems a little vague, but that just might have been the Adam on that particular run-through of his life. At times, the scenario is heartbreaking, other times, not overly explored, are the best lives. Those where he and Tamara Nunez live their natural lives, complete with marriage and kids and yada-freakin’-yada, are glossed over quickly.
I would not say that this was an overly creative telling of such a “Groundhog Day” scenario. There’s a severe lack of humor in the book, which I felt it needed desperately. At least a little bit. However, it was enjoyable, entertaining, and well-written, though I do believe an opportunity was missed to really brighten the story with a reason why this Adam guy was given the opportunity to do things over and over until he, more or less, got things right.
I was left asking myself, ‘why?’, though perhaps that’s not so important. I also would have been more satisfied with a less ambiguous conclusion. With that, I’d give this an 4 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Eisah Eisah.
Author 3 books26 followers
January 16, 2015
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The "Nine Lives of Adam Blake" was an interesting book. In the beginning, we start with a main character who isn't necessarily that likeable. He's not in a good place in his life and he's obsessing too much over a woman, while getting drunk and not being particularly social.

Then, he dies. And that starts the point where he actually starts becoming more sympathetic. He goes back in time and is revived at age 12, remembering everything from a life where he died at age 30 and all of his regrets. The way he progresses from there makes a lot of sense. He's confused about why he's alive again. He has no idea how it happened or for what purpose. After awhile he makes choices differently, spends more time with his family, and avoids some of the decisions he regretted in his first life. On his thirtieth birthday he's afraid that he's destined to die - a fear anyone would probably have. But it comes and goes and he lives on.

In the end, though, that doesn't work. He gets to the end of his life again, and though he lived much longer his second time around he realizes that he's dying alone.

And he comes back again. His frustration at not understanding what he's supposed to do is palpable. It's easy to imagine that anyone would feel the way he does. He continues through life again, living and dying and trying to find solutions. Eventually, in one life he publishes a book that states everything that "is going to happen", explains his situation, and asks if anyone has a solution. He becomes world famous for his predictions and ends up rich and famous. But here, he realizes that he might have a horrible choice to make. In a previous life, he had married Tamar and had a beloved son named David. Now, in this life, when he meets Tamar she has been in a relationship with someone else, and though the relationship didn't work out she had a beloved daughter from it. The choices he makes in his next life may determine which child gets to exist, and it's a difficult choice to have on his shoulders.

Read the rest of the review here.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for A. Fae.
Author 5 books58 followers
December 7, 2015
Nine Lives of Adam Blake
By Ryan Gladney

Have you ever wanted a life do-over? The opportunity to try just once more to get it right? The chance to be who you know you're really supposed to be? Or hell, maybe just to be someone different? The concept in The Nine Lives of Adam Blake,, a good piece of contemporary fiction by Ryan Gladney is not foreign to any who read, or watch TV for that matter. But Gladney deals with it in a unique way.

Reincarnation is a belief held by several religious ideologies such as Hinduism, where our souls continue to do life over and over again in a new form. Some thought behind this is that it gives us the opportunity to become a better person and perhaps right the wrongs of the past with the end result being that you end up being able to reach the ultimate end. Now, please don't quote me on the aforementioned ideologies as they're not research based, rather what I can recall.

Adam Blake's situation varies in that his do-overs always begin at a particular point in his childhood with the consciousness that he has been down this road before. We see him wrestle with the ways in which he can manipulate the experience in an effort to have it end the way he'd want - particularly when it comes to love. Although it can’t ever be that easy or simple, can it?

​Gladney gave us a fairly short and entertaining read with an interesting storyline. Although I find it pointless to go in-depth in regards to what takes place in this book, I can say it’s a good book….not a bad book. I’d recommend it.
Profile Image for Sarah.
36 reviews
October 30, 2014
This book was definitely interesting: Adam finds himself in a loop in which he keeps coming back to his 12th year after he mysteriously disappeared in the woods. Sometimes he lives a long time, sometimes he ends his life early to try and get back to the love of his life.

I enjoyed the story, even if I feel like I could stand to know a little more about Adam. Some of the “shifting” was a little confusing, but honestly, I believe that was intentional. Adam’s circumstances were confusing for him, so why wouldn’t they be confusing to me as the reader?

In the end, this book was sparkling and fantastic and I was totally on board- but the explanation fell a little iffy, especially since everything else in this book was so delightful: Suddenly a new character, suddenly an explanation- we’ve gotta go, we’ve gotta wrap this thing up already. I reread the explanation three times to make sure I didn't miss some key point. I almost want to request a short story going in depth to help my poor little brain sort it out.

I’m passing it on to my husband to see what he thinks, because he was just as excited when it came in the mail and I told him he had to wait until I finished it!

Ryan Gladney, please write more books!

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 5 books58 followers
April 3, 2015
The Nine Lives of Adam Blake starts with the death of it's main character. Sometimes this device is cheesy and under realised in fiction but not in this book. It kills it's main character and then wakes him up as his 12 year self where he is destined to relive his life again and again.

It is very groundhog day but with Adam's whole life from 12 upwards. It deals with the nature of the soul, what makes you happy as a person? what you would do with foreknowledge and it's a very gripping read.

Adam is not a nice guy initially, as he drives into fiery oblivion in his first life, he comes across as a drunken obsessive arsehole. With each life however, he becomes kinder, gentler. Like Phil in 'Groundhog Day' he becomes a better person. He is great to read and his story flows quite nicely. Also the reason why this is happening drives the narrative of the book.

The secondary characters don't really shine in this book. His 'love' really doesn't seem to deserve it and there are a lot of hints to her back story that aren't really explored. There is also no real connections to his family. That may be due to the fact that book is really exploring the 'multi-life scenario'.

It is a very good book, despite the couple of flaws mentioned.
Profile Image for Robert.
342 reviews
November 27, 2015
Fascinating premise built into an elegant narrative structure. Gladney's got a gift for smooth, descriptive prose. Sadly, he doesn't have the same gift for dialogue. Most of what the characters say is static and on-the-nose. There's very little subtext and very little of the dialogue actually does anything aside from inform us what the character is thinking. It doesn't sink the book, but it's certainly a glaring weakness.

There's a neat sci-fi element to Adam's plight, though at times you get the feeling Gladney hasn't done all his homework establishing and understanding the rules of the story's universe. This leaves a few too many plot points a bit beyond belief. He also focuses much of the narrative attention on the love story between Adam and Tamar despite not quite earning the reader's dedication to that relationship, especially up against all the other possible narrative directions that could come about given the circumstances of Adam's particular condition.

Couple all this with an unfulfilling climax and you're looking at a decent outing by a first-time author that, while I'm glad I read it, I can't highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jonathon.
159 reviews
February 10, 2017
Pretty unique look at a few things. Read the majority of the book in a single sitting as I couldn't put it down. Great job Ryan!
Profile Image for Stacy.
915 reviews19 followers
August 30, 2015
This is one of those books that deserves more than 3 stars but really isn't four star worthy. However, if the book was given some editorial instruction and republished, it has the potential.

It needs to be fleshed out more. The lives are summarized as two points - what happens with Tamar and a quick review of his life. Instead of the constancy of his dedication to Tamar, which, honestly is a little too extreme to feel genuine, means we replay the same scene over and over, even though his life would be so different that the bar wouldn't be so constant. And the reviews of life need to be more detailed and more as-it's-happening instead of so much like a book cover blurb.

I think that the author purposely focused on Tamar because he wanted to write about soul mates, or something, but it seems like the wrong choice. There was so much potential - do something to save his mom, prevent a terrible event, advance science or technology - that love seems a little flat in comparison.
1 review
March 23, 2015
I won this book from the author (autographed, which is pretty awesome) through Goodreads, and I have to say that I truly enjoyed it! There were a couple of grammatical errors, but not enough to make it a tough read, and not enough to stop me from finding out what happens to our main character! I find it was well-written, thoughtful, and once I started it was hard to put down. My first thought once I finished it, was that the ending was rushed; however, I think that's only because I just didn't want it to end. I wanted a glimpse into more lives lived, more cause and effect... but that's just me being selfish. Great job, Mr. Gladney! I look forward to reading future works!!!

On a side note - I'm a texture kind of person, and I have to say this book was physically well-made. What a gorgeous feel to the covers.
Profile Image for Susan.
102 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2015
The Nine Live of Adam Blake is a tale of an individual stuck in constant reborn cycle. After his first death 6 months after his 30th birthday Adam is forced to relive life again and again and again, starting from when he was twelve (awaking from a week long coma after getting lost in the woods). With every life comes a different path him trying to figure out why this is happening to him and how to fix his life.

Personally I found the novel enjoyable and a good effort for the authors first time publishing. The story does keep you guessing and at times rooting for him to get his happy ending. There is a plausible explanation as to why this cycle keeps happening to him. But at last the ending just wasn't enough. It was was to open ended for me and leaves the reading with the expression anything can happens.
Profile Image for Stacy.
111 reviews3 followers
March 14, 2015
Absolutely amazing book! In reading the Acknowledgements section at the end, I couldn't believe this was a new author.
Adam Blake is stuck in a neverending time loop, where he lives the same life over and over...well, sort of. Just like the butterfly effect, small changes can make large ripples from one life to the next. He is fully cognizant of all his past lives, which is where this is a departure from other reincarnation tales. As Adam struggles to find out the meaning of it all, he stumbles onto the idea that maybe there is no grand reason. Maybe it is just enough to live life every day as if it were your last. What a beautiful concept!
Strongly recommend this story - it made it onto my 'Favorites' shelf, ya'll. Good for readers 17+.
Profile Image for Michael.
319 reviews5 followers
March 29, 2015
I made a mistake by not reading this in one sitting

I picked this book because I'm an ancient Minneapolitan. I know the highway and Lake Nokomis, though I haven't been back in years. I kept waiting for the Foshay Tower to make its appearance. My high school played a school named Blake Academy, alas, no longer there. I enjoyed this book, but the complexity of it made me wish I had read it in one sitting. Next time I'll take notes and settle down for a long ponder.
Profile Image for James Johnston.
15 reviews
March 6, 2015
Interesting Read

Written to make you pause to consider all of the things that happen or don't happen in your own life. Very interesting concept for the story and there are some good twists. Some of the character's dialogue could have been less stilted though and some sections were a bit tedious. Overall good stuff and I would recommend it for the perspectives.
November 4, 2016
A truly Great read

This is a book that you have to read once you start it. It is imaginative and will most definitely keep you turning the pages. Each character comes alive as you get to know Adam Blake, his friends and family. Well done Mr. Gladney.
Profile Image for Ted Powell.
116 reviews8 followers
May 14, 2015
Very unique

Good job. Thanks for letting me read it. Keep in writing. You have a good concept and went with it.
Sincerely Theocpowell@gmail.com
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