This. Goddamn. Story.
It's a goddamn revelation, that's what it is. I came to a realization towards the end-ish that this is gay [b:Siddhartha|52036|Siddhartha|Hermann Hesse|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394861337s/52036.jpg|4840290], but more relatable/understandable. See below for comments I made while reading. Some spoilers, since I guess the past life thing can kind of be a spoiler, if you're viewing it from a Siddhartha sort of way. Reader's discretion is advised:
The reincarnation aspect is interesting. It's started seeping over into the now, but it still all makes sense, and it hasn't gotten to the point where it feels kitschy. ...because even then, it was still directed more into self-development and self-discovery. The best part is you can feel the message. The one where Shep calls Reggie and confesses that he realized he wasn't as open as he thought, and Reg responded with how there was more room to grow (this is paraphrased badly, but you get the idea). That's incredibly evident in the writing. This is like Siddhartha, but gay. Instead of the river, it's the dance. Wow. Just...wow.
Unlike Siddhartha, which takes place in a realm beyond, this story starts on Earth and ends back down on Earth. But God, that middle section. Bella
On a different note, the distribution of this story is odd. The past life aspect isn't introduced until well past the half-way point, yet it ended up seeming so important, but then, by the end, not important at all, really (goddamn Siddhartha). Towards the end, when it ties it back down to Earth and the realm of the mundane, I kept glancing anxiously at the progress bar, thinking there wasn't enough space left for actual shit to actually get tied up. I think it still managed, decently at the very least. Below are some (partially incoherent) comments I made while reading, some of which were typed on my phone (hence, the incoherency) that I went through and corrected the spellings of but gave up trying to revise the grammar:
I'm...leery about this whole past life stuff. See, I read this other mystery before where past-life shit got involved, and at first it was sorta interesting and added to the atmosphere, but the way the resolution was handled ruined the whole thing for me. It put a disproportionate emphasis on past affecting now without really exploring it. The reason for what happened was past-life, but what actually happened was present-oriented, which bothered me and killed the story.
This kind of seems like it's going that way once the past-life stuff gets fully introduced. D: I don't want the plot to become a subordinate of the past-life intrigue...
What an oddly charismatic piece.
I've had to grudgingly but also awestrickenly (I don't give a crap if that's not a word; I've given up on looking for an appropriate adverb) admit that the way the reincarnation/past life stuff is handled is great. It's... transcendent. I think the key difference between this and the other one I mention earlier is that the aspect carried the plot of the other one, whereas this one was turned inward into self-discovery. It did annoy me a bit that MC should have this where others don't, but author handled it well - by lampshading it and making a tastefully self depreciating remark/joke.