Title: The Reluctant Reaper
Author: Gina X. Grant
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Reluctant Reaper (Book 1)
Publication Date: June 17, 2013
Format: ebook, 200 Pages
ISBN-10: 1476728682 (Pocket Star)
ISBN-13: 978-1476728681 (Pocket Star)
Reviewed by: Stephanie
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!
Quick & Dirty: Kirsty d’Arc is going about her daily life when she is attacked by her stapler. This sets up a chain of events that will eventually have her winding up in Hell. Suddenly, her ordinary life (or afterlife) just got a whole lot more complicated…
Opening Sentence: The morning of my twenty-fifth birthday, I dragged myself into the office feeling hungover and half dead.
I found myself in an odd situation with this book. I read and reviewed the second book in this series prior to realizing I was going to be reading and reviewing the first book. I really didn’t like the second book and was rather nervous about reading this one. While I did end up liking it slightly better than book 2, this series is still just not my cup of tea.
Kirsty d’Arc works for the PR firm owned by her best friend’s father, Conrad, a man who in many ways, has also been a father to Kirsty. She’s very happy with her life and is enjoying climbing up the corporate ladder. On her 25th birthday, something odd happens – her stapler attacks her, depositing a staple right into her hand. Conrad comes in to help, and in the process, her blood ends up on a piece of paper he’s holding. Later, while celebrating her birthday with some co-workers, Kirsty overhears Conrad arguing with someone in the bathroom. Becoming alarmed, she goes in to help. The man with Conrad is wearing a robe and holding what appears to be a scythe. When he swings the scythe towards Conrad, Kirsty dives in front of him, and the scythe rips her soul from her body.
Kirsty finds herself in Hell – not because she was a bad person, but because everyone winds up there in order to wait for their turn to be reincarnated. Kirsty is understandably upset and is desperate to find a way back to the Mortal Coil so she can live out the rest of her life. Will she be able to find a way back, or will she be stuck in Hell forever?
In my review of Scythe Does Matter, I mentioned my distaste for the fact that Kirsty seems incredibly self-centered. While this trait is a major part of her character in this first book (and is in fact mentioned multiple times by other characters), she proves that she obviously cares about others when she selflessly dives in front of Conrad. This made me like her a little more than I did previously.
Dante is the Reaper who accidentally takes Kirsty’s soul. Despite her anger towards him, Kirsty finds herself increasingly attracted to him. While he is in this first book more than in the second book, I still just could not warm up to him. I think a large part of this is because, while we do see a lot of him, the dialogue he and Kirsty have doesn’t really reveal much about him as a person. Any substantial relationship-building that’s done is glossed over, so it was really hard for me to connect to Dante as a character and to he and Kirsty as a couple. The same could be said of the other side characters as well; we get brief glimpses of them, but not enough to really feel a connection to them as characters.
Overall, I still feel that these books try too hard to be funny. In this book, the use of puns became very annoying to me. It only served to take me out of the plot and make me realize that I really wasn’t liking what I was reading. While I will say I like the overall idea of the plot, the execution of that idea just doesn’t end up working for me.
I squinted hard, unfocusing my eyes a little. And there he was—the object of Conrad’s attention.
Standing between Conrad and the mirror stood an attractive man who looked about thirty. I gasped and stepped back. He disappeared! I unfocused my eyes again and he popped back into view. Was this some kind of hologram? Was there an app for that now?
Conrad’s buddy wore a long black robe like a choir gown. Was he Goth? Or really into Harry Potter? I checked for eyeliner or a lightning-bolt-shaped scar, but his face appeared devoid of makeup or fan-boy tattoos.
The Reluctant Reaper Series:
FTC Advisory: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Reluctant Reaper. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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