The One Apart
The One Apart is a reincarnation story with a difference: Tres has lived many lives before, and he remembers them all. As a newborn with an adult’s memories, he finds himself struggling, along with his teenage mother Sancha, to adapt to a life that once again places him well apart from not only his peers, but every other human in the world.
It’s rare to find a reincarnation story that begins in the womb, with the pre-birth thoughts of a boy who discovers (to his horror) that he is going to be born again, fully aware of his pasts and fully cognizant.
Justine Avery takes the time to fully explore Tres’ experience, drawing readers into the idea of an old soul trapped in a new body’s slow development: “Unable to reach, grasp, or even roll over, he was trapped by his own rotund, untrained form, even as his newborn brain rapidly developed. The limitations of cell reproduction, tendon growth, and even his small size stifled his physical ability while his brain charged with electric pulses, new synapses, and mental connections at an exceptional rate. His body grew unbearably slowly; his mind raced to adapt, process, and encompass the timeless, intangible knowledge contained in his consciousness.”
It’s her attention to such depth and detail that makes The One Apart more than just another story of living multiple lives, fully immersing readers in the growth experiences, struggles, and thoughts that shape Tres/Aaron’s life.
As Tres/Aaron faces the usual challenges of peer relationships and growing up, he also faces the fact that there’s a reason why he’s being reborn time after time - and that reason involves a threat only he can perceive.
Tres becomes educated about more than one realm, and begins to uncover not only his own purpose, but those of others around him who do not harbor his memories and special condition: “Aself selects corporeal life—the environment of a specific aspect—for the purpose of attainment, Fei imparted. Aself is inclined to seek experiences—situations, challenges, relationships—serving aself’s mien. It is… The Natural Order of Things. I chose… my life—this life? The people in it… everything that happens to me? Indeed—of a sense and to an extent—and for all of them, for each of aself’s corporeal lives.”
Fans of Cloud Atlas and other similar stories of reincarnated lives and special purposes will find The One Apart offers special spiritual and psychological insights and a complexity that more casual approaches don’t provide. Indeed, Cloud Atlas would be one solid comparison for readers who enjoy reincarnation stories that present insights into special purposes in and approaches to life.
From considerations of life purpose and evil to the realization that death is not a limitation or an end, but affords new beginnings, readers who follow Tres on his journey will find The One Apart an outstanding, well-detailed story that is hard to put down, evocative, thought-provoking, and filled with surprises and hope.
The One Apart is very highly recommended; especially for fans of reincarnation scenarios who can expect far more insight from this read than most, tempered with a purposeful saga to keep readers thoroughly engrossed to the end.