Recommended: yes, for now…
for a quick pace with lots of travel and violence, for a deep dive into the folklore and beliefs of death around the world, for a morally grey characters (and a really boring sidekick)
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.
This book was EXCELLENT, until I read the epilogue. I might be the only one who thinks so, because I am bored by paladins and righteousness, but I was cheering the whole way though and fully committed to the characters and series —
and then. (click for spoilers!!)
Look, if the next book is entirely focused on freakin’ Neven, then I might be out. Neven, who is so boring of a character that I actually had to go to the book page to find his name because I had forgotten it. Neven, who is so boring that even in the book’s blurb he’s just “Ren’s younger brother” and no name is given, and I had to read reviews until someone mentioned it in their summary. Neven is a flat and boring morally-righteous character.
I predict the next book will be one of two things: Ren’s search to find him in the deep dark, or a full perspective shift to him and the child as they find a secret city out in the deep dark and have adventures of their own or whatever. A boring guy and a child are not my idea of a fun time.
Ok sorry had to get that rant out of my system.
This book initially did a lot right, though. There’s not drawn out journey in the beginning; they just get where they need to be and start making things happen. There are secrets and hints to them that allow you to cleverly piece some mysteries together, to be satisfying when you’re right and satisfied when you learn the bits you had missed. It’s dark and unapologetic and maybe I don’t hate if my character is morally a bit grey, with dips into the darkness.
And OF COURSE, the setting and whole theme based around Japanese folklore and gods is inherently fascinating. Get me those Yokai, yo!
So this book was mostly fantastic, with a sudden drastic uh-oh towards the end, that might be leading the story in a direction I’m not interested in. Hope I’m wrong and it continues to be as sinful and compelling as this first one!