Review of ‘The Ninth Life’
The Ninth Life offers readers a complex and emotional view at being human.
Filled with heart, hope and beautiful prose, The Ninth Life is a wonderful, weird and unforgettable novel for readers looking for something unique, honest and real.
What if your deepest wish came with grim consequences?
At the end of Caesar’s feline life, he makes a deal with the goddess Zosma to rejoin Ophelia, the girl he loves, for his ninth and final life.
However, waking in the body of seventeen-year-old Austin Price isn’t what he anticipates. Neither is Austin’s handsome roommate, Cooper—a boy who moves him in unexpected ways. And coming face-to-face with a messy past he can’t remember living makes being human even harder than he would have thought.
The chaos and wonder of his ninth life urges Austin to get to know Ophelia on human terms and sends him stumbling into complicated friendships that might mean more to him than he ever imagined. But his wish has a price, and even as Austin is pulled in two impossible directions, the very heart beating in his chest is on a countdown of its own—a countdown he has no control over.
The Ninth Life is an interesting enough novel that deals with plenty of issues regarding sexuality, life, death, and the complexities of being a human.
A Story of Reincarnation
The Ninth Life follows Caesar, a cat who wishes to be reincarnated as a human to be with the girl he has grown to love. He gets his wish, going into the body of Austin, a boy with a troubled life. Barton did an excellent job of developing the novel’s tension, delving into the complexities of what it means to be a human.
Caesar has so much to learn to be a human and the range of complex emotions that come with it. Caesar struggles with the relationship Austin had with his roommate and his feelings for Ophelia.
There are some issues with the dynamics mainly because the relationship Austin had with Cooper was both unstable and toxic. There are mentions of previous abuse between the two, a mutually abusive relationship that Caesar has no intention of repeating. It does make the reader slightly uncomfortable to see Caesar navigate the turbulent relationship Austin had with Cooper.
While some parts of the novel may make the reading uncomfortable, the relationships grow and develop healthily. The novel deals with sexuality, physical abuse, and drug usage, and these topics create tension between the characters.
The challenging issues also allow the reader to see the struggles in life that some people face. It is not far fetched to fall into drug dealing or the like, and the way Barton handles the drug usage is mature and realistic. Barton takes the tough subjects and allows the reader to connect to the story and connect to that tension. Yes, it does still make the dynamics frustrating and uncomfortable, but life is like that. Life is not always clean or perfect, but Barton brings it to life and gives the story its realism to ground the reader.
The Ninth Life is not a novel without issues. However, it humanly deals with real issues. This novel offers readers a look at humanity, a look at the complexities of emotions, of love. The Ninth Life is not a novel all will love or even life, but it is thought-provoking at the end of the day.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
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About the Author
Cynthia Bujnicki graduated from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has always loved to read since she was a child. A contributing writer for YA Fantasy Addicts, she is also the Editor-in-Chief for Cyn's Workshop. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband and son and their two cats, Mr. J the Kitten and Nyx.