Series: The Reluctant Reaper #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Pocket Star on 17 June 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 Zodiac Challenge
Kirsty d’Arc is having a bad day. She is attacked by a wanton stapler, bleeds all over her boss’s contract and accidentally gets her soul reaped by Dante (yes, THE Dante). After separating her from her body, Dante whisks her down to hell which is full of bureaucracy and other such nightmares. This story deals with her death and attempts to get her wrongful reaping case heard.
Kirsty is unfortunately fairly boring. She is the straight-man to all the funny characters around her that include a cross-dressing Charon. She has been reincarnated twice already and in both lifetimes failed to achieve anything of any note – good or bad. Everyone around Kirsty encourages her to make the most of her temporary life in Hell by getting a job or contributing in some way but she cruises along expecting something to fall into her lap. Dante is a bit more engaging but it should be hard to build a relationship when one party can’t stop apologising.
The plot felt stretched out as nothing was really resolved at the end of the book. It was however chock-full of pop and literary references, re-imaged mythological creatures and snarky comments. There were lots of one liners and really bad puns – if it was a tv show, it would have come with a canned laugh track. At times the humour felt forced. Grant’s take on Hell was irreverent and quirky, and the Kaflaesque administration system was a treat.
This is a short novel so there are limits to how much you can flesh out characters and relationships. I would have preferred some kind of climax and denouement rather than it just coming to an end much like a serial story would. I will definitely be reading the next in the series though as I did enjoy the world and even though I cringed at some of the puns, it was fun.
One very minor quibble – at one point Kirsty says “lead on McDeath” but if the author wanted to quote “Macbeth” accurately, she should have said “lay on” instead.