Reaper was high on my to-read list ever since I read the blurb, so I was thrilled that as a fellow J. Taylor Publishing author, I got the opportunity to review the e-ARC for L.S.’s blog tour!
Here’s the intriguing blurb for Reaper:
There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.
She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.
It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.
Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.
Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.
Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.
It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities — from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.
Quincy Amarante seems to have it all: she’s rich, got a brand new car for her birthday, and is one of the most popular girls in school. All that seems unimportant when Death comes knocking — literally. Apparently, reaping runs in her family, she is destined to be the next Grim Reaper, and her induction has begun.
In a YA book world filled with vampires, werewolves, faeries, and mermaids, I found Reaper refreshingly different. Quincy is a likeable character, one who grew as the story unfolded, from a girl who hides her true self in order to be accepted into the “in crowd”, to one who realises the shallowness of her actions, as the varied deaths she encounters on her reaping excursions teaches her just what’s really important in life.
I love the idea of Destiny wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals under his quintessential flowing robe. Forsyth, Quincy’s reaper mentor and great-great-grandfather, is another interesting character, and I would have liked to have found out more about his past. Quincy’s romance with childhood best friend Ben Moorland, despite his reputation as a “scrub”, is sweet, and without spoiling the ending, I must say that their final encounter nearly brought a tear to my eye.
The only thing that bothered me was the seemingly petty and pointless bickering between Destiny and Fate, and the vagueness of how a reaper is chosen. Perhaps it was meant to be something enigmatic and mysterious, but considering the story is about reaping, I would expect a bit more detail with the world-building. Also, perhaps I’m an old fuddy-duddy. but I found some of Quincy’s similes and metaphors a tad on the weird side.
All in all, Reaper is a brilliant debut novel, and a touching coming-of-age tale about a girl who discovers just what’s really important in life — and in death.
And here’s a short excerpt from Reaper for your reading pleasure, taken from the opening chapter:
A spitball stops in mid-air less than an inch from my nose.
It hangs there. I assume everyone else notices the wet wad of paper too, but when I turn to my bestie Jordan, her mouth is stuck open with her eyes half closed.
She was just laughing. Now she’s … frozen?
The sudden silence is louder than a room full of gossiping teenagers.
Mini-quakes creep up my spine like a centipede hurrying toward my hair.
I’m not entirely sure my heart is beating. I wave my shaking hand in front of Jordan, hoping this will break her free of whatever happened.
Why am I moving?
So many times, I wished Jordan would stop talking. Now is the one time I need her high-pitched voice to pierce my ears.
Quin, relax. It’s okay. No way this is real. I pinch my arm hard, but it doesn’t change anything.
A loud pop makes me spin around in my seat. A man stands in front of the chalkboard in a bluish-white robe staring at me through blizzard white eyes. He holds a staff in front of him that looks like melting glass.
“Hello, Quincy,” he says in a deep velvet voice. “How would you like to see your future?”
I stand and stumble toward the back of the room. “Who are you supposed to be? Gandalf?” I’m unable to keep the tremor out of my voice.
“One person dresses up like me in a movie, and that’s all I hear.” He leans back on Mr. Spragg’s desk. “I’m far more attractive than him and so much more fun.” He winks and lifts his robe, revealing a pair of yellow and red striped Bermuda shorts and orange flip-flops.
My eyes pop wider at the mismatched mess, but I keep my thoughts about his sense of fashion to myself. “Who are you?”
His sigh echoes off the walls. “I’m Destiny.”
Rolling his eyes, he raises the staff high to his left. Like a swordsman, he stabs and swooshes it down in an arch. The air ripples as a dark slit opens. A man in a deep brown pinstripe suit steps through. His cheap sneakers don’t match the formality of the tan fedora and horn-rimmed glasses.
A pony-sized white German shepherd saunters in behind him, and I take an automatic step back. The dog turns his head, black orbs where its eyes should be.
Pinstripe man glances my way before turning toward the person who calls himself Destiny. His features contort and a maroon tint creeps over his face.
“What the f—”
Destiny flips his finger and the new guy shuts up. After a moment, he does another finger move.
“We said when she was eighteen, Des.”
“I’m aware of that, Forsyth.”
“She’s not eighteen.”
“Really? I never would have guessed.” Sarcasm fills each word as Destiny raises his eyebrows like a flag on the Fourth of July.
Forsyth glares. “Then why am I here?”
“I let you pick the date, but I never agreed to honor it.” Destiny pats the dog on the head with sneer and wipes his hands on his robe. “Now is the time. Teach her.”
About the Author
L.S. Murphy lives in the Greater St. Louis area where she watches Cardinals baseball, reads every book she can find, and weaves tales for young adults and adults. When not doing all of the above, she tends to her menagerie of pets as well as her daughter and husband.