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Review – The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

I meet Heather a few weeks/months ago talking about her new book which she had just started to write. That meeting made me very curious about her other works. When this book popped up on NetGalley, there was no way it would slip me by.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley & Orbit in return for an honest review. Thank you.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott

by Heather Child

Synopsis by NetGalley

*TO REFLECT THE TIME-REVERSING ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL, PLEASE NOTE THIS BOOK HAS A NON-TRADITIONAL CHAPTERING FORMAT, STARTING WITH ‘PART 6’ ON PAGE 1.*

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott develops the mysterious ability to reverse his last action. It makes him able to experience anything, to charm any woman and impress any friend. His is a life free of mistakes, a life without regret.

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing could be too much to resist.

Mainstream crossover fiction for fans of Matt Haig, Gail Honeyman and Rowan Coleman, from the author of Everything About You.

My Opinion

Highlights

  • The concept
  • Arlo’s journey

Overall

Highly interesting concept and great execution!

I knew, going into this book, that the chapters would not be in order. Reading it, it made more sense later on in the book. The parts of this book are backwards… as in “The Undoing of Arlo Knott”. This book is filled with those tiny magical bits that you probably wouldn’t think of before a later on. Cleaver Heather! Having said that, the chapter number was a bit random but never mind… Though, starting at thirteen and finishing at thirty-seven, it could represent Arlo’s age 🤔 Didn’t think about that before writing this.

The Story

It took a while before I felt that this book started. The first 20% of the book felt more like a kind of introduction to Arlo, his gift, how he learns to use it and how he grows up with it. As I continued to read I realised that this is just the way the book is. I haven’t read anything like this so it is difficult to explain and comment on. But it felt more like it was like a slice-of-life type book but for most of his life.

World Building

There wasn’t much building needed in this book. It’s set somewhere in the UK and probably starts sometime in the 90s.

Magic/Science System

It quite obvious how this gift/”magic” works as Arlo himself tries to figure things out and shares with the reader and it helped a lot.

Characters

Arlo is the main character in the story and tells his story. He is a child in the beginning and we follow him throughout his life as he tries to be the best he can be. As a young child, his action causes a massive change in his life, regret and guilt follows him throughout his life. The ability to undo his actions kicks in after this event and he goes about undoing his mistakes. However, physics is a bit more complicated than that.

I didn’t particularly like Arlo as a person until he meets Sabra. His teenage years were not great, but it was essential to his journey and it made sense. I did like who he became towards the end though.

LGBT?

A side character.

There was mentioned how lucky this person was to have two liberal parents who would accept her as she was (gay). And I felt this was quite an ignorant statement to make. Luck has nothing to do with it. But I also feel it was the character and the times (00’s) who was ignorant and not the author. It was straight out of Arlo’s head and he did have several ignorant thoughts in general before learning his way.

Writing

The writing was smooth even though the parts jumped a bit into the future, you were always told that on the first page.

The was a significant lack of dialogue in this book but I didn’t notice that until 30% in so it didn’t matter. When I did notice it, I felt weird that I didn’t care more… odd!

There was some telling in this text but considering it was told from Arlo’s point of view all the time, it was consistent and wasn’t “out of place” even though I’m not a bit fan of it.

Summary

A very fascinating book. Well worth a read! I look forward to reading her other books 😁

Have you read this? What did you think?

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