Title: Re-Birth (My Own Mythology #1)
Author: Cristoph A.T.
Publication date: November 24, 2022
One Sentence Summary: When Anessa is murdered, she is reborn as an extraordinarily gifted child in another world, one where someone doesn’t want her there.
Re-Birth follows a young woman who was murdered on Earth and then reborn as a baby on a completely different world. Because Anessa has much of the knowledge and experience of her previous life to guide her seconds after birth, she is immediately marked as special and talented, and immediately has a target on her back. While there’s someone in the background who despises her, and while larger rumblings are going on around her that she’s simply not old enough to be privy to, all this takes a backseat to the world building. Re-Birth is almost entirely about unfolding this world, which is incredibly different from our own world, so it was quite useful to have Anessa as a guide of sorts. Anessa was a lot of fun to read about as a grown woman trapped in a child’s body, but the others around her felt largely one note, so the world building really is the star of this book. I do like, though, that it hints at greater things to come regarding the story.
On Earth, Anessa is a young woman in her early twenties. But, after she’s shoved into a van and her world goes black, she abruptly awakes to an unknown woman’s face and discovers she’s been reborn into the body of a baby. More concerning, though, she’s not even on Earth, and she has a twin brother. Thanks to her mostly intact knowledge and experience from her previous life, she’s immediately marked as gifted, but that isn’t a surprise because her new parents are both powerful and connected. In a world completely different from what she knew, Anessa discovers just how powerful and special she is, but someone only sees this young girl as a threat and will do anything to eliminate her.
The idea of rebirth intrigues me, and I found the idea of being reborn on a completely different world to be even more intriguing. While this is targeted at a YA audience, it also kind of felt like it ran the gamut. The main character, Anessa in both lifetimes, is a woman in her twenties stuck in the body of a slowly growing child, so she endures a second childhood with all the thoughts and memories of someone much older. Sometimes, I very much felt her young age, and, at others, I’m reminded she’s also technically an adult. Fortunately, it was well-balanced and both parts came into play at just the right moments. On the other hand, there isn’t really too much to this story as it’s almost completely world building, though that world building is really important considering just how different the world is.
There’s a lot of math that went into Re-Birth. The way someone ages is pretty unique, but I’m not a math person so I was very quickly confused and just hoped and prayed it made sense. The world is called Anfang where the days, months, years, etc. are elongated, so each person has a different age depending on if an Anfang year is used or a standard year. That’s basically the extent of what I understood, but, fortunately, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything because I couldn’t wrap my head around the math. I do think it would have been interesting to be able to convert them back and forth for myself, though, to better put everything into perspective.
Since Re-Birth is almost completely world building, and because it’s so incredibly different from Earth, it was great to get a guide of sorts through Anessa. I found her thoughts to herself regarding similarities and differences to be very helpful, and was even pleased when she thought some of the same things I did. However, it did lead to a great deal of info dumps, which were made more digestible through dialogue. Anfang is an interesting world with interesting customs, and I really felt for Anessa as the things that surprised and recoiled her were the same for me. I wasn’t a big fan of the way children and females in general were treated. They somehow felt lesser and I kept thinking the females are only useful as far as they can make advantageous matches, which was in itself unique. I think what I liked best was that both females and males could have multiple marriages, so someone could have three different spouses and those spouses could have their own multiple spouses as well, regardless of sex. It did make following the family lines a little confusing, but I liked how open and accepting this society is as LGBTQ relationships are normal. On the other hand, matches seem to be frequently made in childhood so children are, essentially, married even if they have zero concept of what a relationship is. The way society is ranked is also a little confusing, and I couldn’t quite figure out where all the land boundaries were drawn or how it made sense as a whole, but there are whiffs of political intrigue, which was fun.
And then there’s the magic. Honestly, I felt this was both well-explained and a little unclear. I liked that the powers worked in certain ways and they had to do with the gods, but I still felt unclear about how they worked. They were fascinating, though, sometimes similar to things I’d read about before and sometimes a little different. I really liked how the characters frequently just wove using their powers into their daily lives. There are also some magical items, which were actually a little amusing to read about, especially since I absolutely was not expecting some of it.
Unfortunately, as Re-Birth is all about the world building, the characters mostly felt one-dimensional and perhaps even cut outs of anime characters. I’m not familiar with anime, but the drawing style of the illustrations included in the story and the periodic references to how some characters looked and acted like anime characters made me think this story took some inspiration from anime. I was still able to enjoy the book, but missed out on character depth. Since Anessa is the one telling the story, it was fun to travel around with her as she grew up, though she remains a child throughout this book. I loved the duality to her, of being originally from Earth but now needing to exist in this strange world and somehow having to exist as child and adult. She felt like she assimilated well, but there were also times when she was just pulled up short and the Earth in her came out, which was actually a lot of fun. There was a nice balance to her, but everyone else around her felt like they had their uses and not much else.
Similarly, there wasn’t much to the story. Halfway through I really had no idea what this was supposed to be about. By the end, I could kind of see it, but it was simplistic as it wasn’t the focus. It felt like there were some larger schemes going on in the world, but, since Anessa is a child, she isn’t privy to much of what goes on. She isn’t really informed on how the world is split up and functions as she never seems to get answers unless she knows to ask. Closer to home, she is aware early on that someone despises her and wants to get rid of her, but there isn’t much on that story line until the end when it comes back in full force. I am intrigued, though, by one mysterious character who pops in and out of Anessa’s life and seems to be hinting at something greater.
Re-Birth has an interesting concept and is set in an interesting world. For fans of world building, this might be a lot of fun. There’s a great deal of exploration about this world and how it works and it’s particularly fun to get to know it through Anessa’s eyes. On the down side, there isn’t much of a story, or at least not at this point in the series, and the characters were given interesting traits but overall seemed rather bland. Still, it was actually a lot of fun to read and the constant differences between Earth and Anfang kept my interest.
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Thank you to Book Sirens and the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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