Series: The Reluctant Reaper #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Pocket Star on June 17, 2013
Reviewed by: Kate
Sexual Content: Very briefly described sex scenes
Life for Kirsty d’Arc might not be perfect, but it’s far from hellish. She likes her job, has a great BFF and truly admires Conrad, her boss. But when she dives in front of a lunatic’s blade to save him from certain death, she finds out Conrad isn’t so admirable after all. In fact, he’s traded her soul to the Devil!
While her body lies comatose on the Mortal Coil, Kirsty’s spirit is dragged straight to Hell…which is not quite the fire-and-brimstone abyss she’d expected. In fact, the place is quirky, wacky, and not without charm. Desperate to reunite body and soul before her time runs out, she seeks out allies, earning the friendship of a powerful drag demon, a psychic server and most importantly, Hell’s civil servant. But what of her growing attraction to Dante, the sexy Reaper with a flair for romantic language—can she forgive him for scything her soul?
Stuck in the netherworld, Kirsty vows she’ll do everything on her postmortem bucket-list, starting with getting her life back and ensuring that Conrad has Hell to pay!
THE RELUCTANT REAPER is exactly what one would expect from the illustration on the cover, goofy and a bit ridiculous. While it wasn't perfect, I did enjoy this first installment in The Reluctant Reaper series, despite its flaws (and puns — so many puns). It was as advertised in the book description, quirky and wacky, and I liked learning about the hell Grant created with all of its oddities, such as how swearing pollutes the environment and strip malls are where you go to get your clothes ripped off. Plus, there are characters wandering around such as Loki and Charon, and I do enjoy a good mythology name-drop.
The problem is with Kristy, our main character. She’s a bit boring. She ends up in hell not because she did something terrible, but because she tried to save her boss and accidentally ended up on the business end of a scythe carried by the reaper Dante (yep, that Dante). And that’s where the title is a bit misleading. Kristy isn’t exactly a reluctant reaper, she is more like a reluctant reapee - that is, someone who was reaped (I am aware I’m making up words at this point). I was kind of hoping she’d end up as a reaper but the story pretty much ends with the judgement at her accidental reaping trial. It is part of the plot that she is as nondescript as she is, but it was a little frustrating that she didn’t do more. What was interesting was learning about hell through Kristy's eyes, with the credit cards that pay in karma points and bureaucratic reincarnation offices.
I think because of the length of THE RELUCTANT REAPER, the story felt a little more like a prequel than the actual start of a series. At around 200 pages, it is a bit longer than a novella, but a bit shorter than a full novel, and there was a lot crammed into those 200 pages. The character growth, the mystery about Kristy’s boss and her reaping, and even the beginning of a relationship between Kristy and Dante were all thrown into the mix. Plus, the world building alone was enough to keep me interested (if you couldn't already tell). As a result, I’m looking forward to the next installment in The Reluctant Reaper series, to find out where Kristy ends up, and how her relationship with Dante evolves, bad poetry and all. Luckily, I won't have to wait long as SCYTHE DOES MATTER, the next in the series, comes out in July.Series Titles:
- The Reluctant Reaper
- Scythe Does Matter
- Esprit de Corpse
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- Temping is Hell (Necessary Evil #1) by Cathy Yardley - 4/5