Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Death & Co. Review

The Eulogy (From the Publisher):
Adam is a Luman, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers fall into their fate however, Adam clings to his life as a normal kid - one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice, risking his life, his family and his destiny.

The Epitaph (In a Nutshell): A really inventive spin on the Grim Reaper mythos, for strong readers (male and female) 12+.

Dearly Departed,
We are gathered here today to discuss Death & Co, by DJ McCune. Grim Reaper and psychopomp mythology is some of my favourite subject matter amongst YA fiction, because there are so many different death legends from every culture. McCune has borrowed enough from the popular legends so that it will be familiar to most readers, but at the same time she’s invented an entirely different world. I really loved the strict hierarchy of the Lumen, and the way the main character struggled against the bounds of his familial expectations which are at odds with what he believes to be right.

Despite its death-centric world, though, this isn’t really a horror book. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty hairy scenes in which Adam has to guide victims of mass accidents to the afterlife, but on the whole, this is very much a story about a boy struggling to find his own place in the world against the wishes of his strict family. He just wants to be a normal kid, going out on dates with the girl he likes and hanging out with friends. 

Still, the fact that this isn’t a blood and guts fuelled nightmare isn’t a bad thing – I really enjoyed the exploration of Adam’s conflicts as he tries to juggle two very different worlds, and the introduction of his new powers sets up a very interesting sequel. 

For Readers: I think this is a great book for strong readers 13+ looking for a thoughtful book with a dark subject matter.

For Writers: Read this book for its main character. Sometimes genre-based YA novels focus too much on action and not enough on character, and this is a good place to start to see what a well-crafted main character can be.


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  2. Great review! I would like to read this book. thanks

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