Jacklyn Lo’s debut novel, Redemption, is a fast-paced and somewhat trippy read—Artificial Intelligence meets New Age—which enters the burgeoning Visionary Fiction genre market (Reincarnation sub-category) with bursts of brilliance that bodes well for her future.
Skipping over any plot summary, which is included in several other reviews, I’ll comment on Redemption’s place in the increasingly sophisticated multi-lifetime fiction arena (think Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life or MJ Rose’s Reincarnationist series as examples). Ms. Lo’s plot structure in presenting the several past incarnations, which contribute to the protagonist’s current lifetime challenges and her future destiny, is simple, sometimes elegantly so, and linear, sometimes too much so to be credible or soul-shaking.
Ann, an attractive and accomplished AI executive with an electronic guru always on hand, experiences ever-deepening angst despite her material success. To resolve a disconcerting recurring dream, she makes a series of visits to a psychic, who lives in the seedy part of town, and, with little ado about the process, is regressed forward in chronological sequence through five lives in very different historical settings (she is even male, a castrated priest of Isis, in one of them). Each lifetime is a well researched and written vignette that corresponds to the spiritual principle (Freedom, Love, Courage, Peace, too obviously announced in the titles of the book’s parts) the lifetime is designed to imbue into the evolving soul on its path to salvation.
The end result of this collage, despite the futuristic setting of its binding story, is that of the medieval morality play, such as Everyman, where plots and people represent abstracts rather than specific characters. The book has sufficient substance and excitement to appeal to a young adult audience or to the curious who are new to the visionary fiction/reincarnation genre. Connoisseurs of the category looking for a more intricate treatment of the subject might, however, find Redemption’s route through the intricate matrix of our universe too easy in Ms. Lo’s depiction.
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