The Reluctant Reaper: Death Is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans by Gina X. Grant #review

The teaser for this book sounded really quirky and fun. Like a mish-mash of Piers Anthony and Dead Like Me. I love the Xanth novels. I loved Dead Like Me for the 2 seasons I got to enjoy it (thanks alot Showtime). Combining the two seemed like a good idea.

In fact I still think it is a good idea. Just not as executed in this book.

Gina X. Grant fails to create characters that are sympathetic or even really likeable. Kirsty is an annoying whiner. She also seems incredibly dense. They way her actual death is set up makes her seem like the least observant, slowest person in the world. This is due to the heavy handed way the story is setup. The reader is being smacked upside the head with hints and clues that a 2 year old couldn’t miss. There is no subtlety or craft employed.

So we find ourselves reading a scene with more bad situation warning bells than a Scary Movie sequel and wondering how on earth our protagonist Kirsty could possibly be so naive. And the truth is there is no plausible or logical way she could be.

This is how we meet a reaper named Dante.

Yes – that Dante.

Who in this book is a ridiculously awkward man-boy with no eloquence. Seriously no eloquence from the guy who wrote The Inferno?

I wish I had stopped reading there.

Puns the world over should be rising up in revolt against their shabby treatment in this book. Where Piers Anthony deftly wields puns to create whimsically literal worlds and situations – Ms. Grant lobs them about like a drunken darts player. Instead of being seamlessly woven into the story she is creating they seemed forced and often painfully setup.

I wanted to like, even love this book. But I just couldn’t. Aside from essentially uninteresting main characters and poor use of puns, the story itself felt cursory and pedantic. She attempted to create a new and different idea of Hell. Some of the elements had great potential. Sadly that potential was unrealized.

I still think the underlying idea could be pretty brilliant.

I was provided a gratis copy of this book for review.

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