Carlin's Reviews > The Shop Before Life

The Shop Before Life by Neil Hughes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: booksiren-kindle

Truly exceptional book. Reminded me of Philip Pullman's Golden Compass series. I'm sure Faythe and Lyra would be kindred spirits.

The Author has created an amazingly believable place called Pre-Life where humans begin their journey to be born on earth. They can stay as long as they wish, but most ultimately decide to make that journey. Their last stop before leaving Pre-Life is the Shop Before Life where each person is allowed to choose all the Traits they desire for their life on Earth. The Traits, such as "Will Know What To Do," "Bravery," and even "Has Poor Bowel Function" (why would anyone choose that?), are contained in jars stored on shelves in the beautifully described Shop Before Life. People are only limited by the number of jars they can carry through the portal to Earth.

Faythe has been quite happy, if a little bored, for the 200-plus years she has been living in a Rock with two friends when two strangers recruit her to be an Apprentice to The Shop Keeper at the Shop Before Life. She signed a 1,000 year contract and, after a period of training, starts working at the Shop. Unfortunately, Faythe is impulsive and frequently gets in trouble requiring intervention by the elderly Shop Keeper.

Such a simple description of the beginning of the story doesn't do it justice. The writing is almost magical as it pulled me into this alternate universe. It has been awhile since I became so immersed in a book. I felt I could find my way down the many passageways in The Shop and immediately connect with the characters. Rowling's and Pullman's books did that for me as well...the Author is in exalted company! I wonder if a sequel could be in the Author's creative mind?

I received an Advanced Review Copy from Book Sirens and am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 23, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
December 23, 2019 – Shelved
December 23, 2019 – Shelved as: booksiren-kindle

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