The Reincarnation of Tom by Aden Simpson

The Reincarnation of Tom by Aden Simpson
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Tom was a daydreaming office schlub. What will he be like as a chicken, cow, tiger, tree and Austrian art teacher from 1896?

Napoleon was a pig with dreams of revolution. What will he be like as Joseph Stalin?

Shirley was a zoo keeper with a big heart and a weakness for helping others. When will she learn?
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Sal was a cop. Then a cop. Then a cop several times after that. What will he be like as the leader of a coalition sworn to hunt Tom for the rest of his lives?

What would you do differently if you knew every one of your deeds was being carefully recorded and judged?

Tom’s character development was marvelous. He was a deeply flawed man when the audience first met him in the first scene. Honestly, I completely understood why his subsequent lifetime wasn’t a human one based on how much bad karma he accrued when he was Tom the person. The only thing better than getting to know him was seeing how slowly and unevenly he evolved from that point. Just like us real people, he made plenty of mistakes in his many lifetimes. Sometimes he’d seem to learn a lesson only to reveal that it hadn’t sunk in after all. In other cases, he surprised me with his personal growth in areas that I expected him to continue messing up in. It was delightful to watch him change and keep trying to become a better soul no matter how often he missed he mark.

There were several subplots in this book that wove in and out of the narrative depending on what was currently happening to Tom and how well he was following the rules that might eventually allow him to return to his original life again. I deeply enjoyed seeing how they all tied together. Sometimes their bonds were so tight that it was hard to separate them all out again, while in other sections the audience was given much more time to tease out the new developments in all of them. These changes always felt natural to me as a reader no matter how things were panning out.

I was thrilled with the world building. While some of the main character’s lifetimes involved creatures that were barely even aware of humanity at all, many of them were much more interested in how the system of reincarnation worked in this universe and what someone can do to be reborn into an easier life next time around. The more I learned about how it all worked, the more I wanted to find out! This became even more true once Tom’s main source of conflict with the ones who oversaw it all was revealed and developed.

The Reincarnation of Tom was a delightful tale that should be read by anyone who loves the science fiction genre or who wonders what it would be like to live many lifetimes.

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