Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1) by Amber Benson

This wasn't one of my favorite books I have read for this book club but I did find it quite enjoyable. The idea was a good one and this was that kind of book I loved to read when I was younger, so I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane, so to speak. 

Calliope is trying to live a normal life in New York, normal job, normal friends and normal interests all included. But she is the daughter of Death and even though she doesn't have any contact with her family, she gets dragged right back into her old life when her father is kidnapped along with her oldest sister and almost everyone working for him. Calliope is the only family member left who can take over her fathers job and if she don't do it, her fathers powers and immortality will be revoked and he might be killed. So Calliope don't have much of a choice, she has to become Death. Of course becoming Death isn't that easy and she has to complete a series of challenges before she can get her powers and everything gets really complicated when she is also accused of being her fathers kidnapper.

The book was exciting and the idea was a good one, but where this book failed a bit for me, was Calliope. She had an okay personality, but I just didn't like her that much. One of her go to reactions when life fights against her is to sit down and cry while she waits for someone to help her. I would have liked her to be a bit more kick-ass and luckily she gets better during the book. I also liked that she didn't change her personality during the book. She started out as shopping loving girl and she was still the same when the book was over, even though I don't think I would be good friends with her.

I did like Calliopes sister, Clio. She was one of my favorite characters in this book and I don't think Callie would have gotten far without her. I also loved Runt, one of Cerberus pups which is a great support for Callie during this book. 

The story isn't the most original but I thought that Amber Benson did it in an interesting way and although parts of the book was a bit predictable, overall I enjoyed it. In the end she managed to surprise me couple of times and the book was an easy, entertaining read. All in all, the book had a few short-commings, but I enjoyed spending time in this universe and I might keep reading the series, even if it's mostly to get to know some of the minor characters a bit better.

P.S. A little note about why we are only reviewing one book each, even though we were supposed to read both. I can't review The Ocean at the End of the Lane because I haven't gotten it yet. I pre-orderd the book but it has yet to turn up in my mailbox. This is why we are reviewing one book each, even though Kiwie has read them both and I will most definitely read The Ocean at the End of the Lane as soon as it turns up. 


The Ocean at the End of the Lane

My initial thought after finishing this: Beautiful. 

When I first started reading I wasn't entirely sure if this book would sit well with me. It is the first Neil Gaiman book I've pre-ordered. The first adult fiction book he's published after I fell in love with his words (which was sometime before the Graveyard book came out, which I got for Christmas in a really pretty edition from my aunt who is magical at gifs. Or psychic. Or she just talks to my mother.) for real. After I somehow learned that Gaiman is a writer who writes books. Weird, I have Coraline sitting on a shelf and it's been sitting there for years, and I've read Sandman and you know been generally aware of Gaiman since I was a kid, but it wasn't until 07/08 I really got into him and read most of his fiction. So I was worried I was going to be let down because I've built him up. I wasn't.

This was and wasn't Gaiman as I've know him. The book started off like books do, uncertainly, teaching the reader it's language and I was puzzled for a while, but by page 50 I was so drawn into the story that there was no putting it down until the final page. I read every single word. If books are boring, or parts seem to not be relevant to the overall plot I often read, but don't register much of what's going on. That didn't happen. Gaiman writes beautifully, sometimes his descriptions and observations make me go "this is truth" or feel like I'm having a eureka moment, which is a wonderful thing, or just making the words seem very real. (*coughpage112cough*) I'm expecting to see a lot of quotes from this floating about the web, in pretty fonts and on pretty pictures. 

It was beautiful, and scary and I wish it was longer and not. I also want to tip my hat for his naming skills. Ursula Monkton! Sounds villainy to me.

Not to mention the beautiful name and the cover of my edition. Well, the book underneath the dust jacket as well as the dust jacket (do you even call them that?).

Yes, there are flaws, yes there were parts where I wished someone had edited the language differently, but for the most part I wouldn't change a thing. I think this is a lovely little book and I cried at the end. There's a magic to it, and while the universe is intangible it isn't annoyingly so, not to me anyway (I know others will disagree). This is not my favoirte Gaiman novel (tie between American Gods, Coraline and The Graveyard book!), but I loved it.

Again: Beautiful, I wish I could say something better, but that's all I can come up with.

Best wishes,