Friday, March 13, 2009

Death's Daughter - Amber Benson

Death’s Daughter
A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel
Amber Benson


Calliope (Callie) Reaper-Jones is just like most twenty-somethings who go to New York. She loves the city and wants to work in fashion. At the moment, she’s an admin assistant in a yard and garden company. Her life gets one huge shake-up when, during one ordinary morning, a faun shows up at her job and the Forgetting Charm she apparently cast on herself breaks. Now she remembers everything. Her father is Death. And she cast the Charm in the first place so that she could live a normal life away from all the magic and weirdness. And just live in the Manhattan version of weirdness.

The faun, Jarvis, is her father’s assistant and he’s got bad news. Callie’s dad, her oldest sister (a VP in Death, Inc.) and most of the Death, Inc. executives are missing. Kidnapped. Now the next person in line needs to take over as Death. If someone outside the family takes over, there’s not likely to be any mercy. Of course, in order to take over, Callie must complete three tasks, assigned to her by various Gods. The first task: get one of Cerberus’ puppies. It only gets harder from there.

The main problem with this novel is Callie. She’s an idiot. That may sound harsh, but she knows it, and she admits it, and she confesses, often and loudly, that she’s pathetic. And she cries. All the time. This woman speaks like a teenager, believes everything everyone tells her (despite her upbringing, and even when she’s in Hell, dealing with beings who clearly have it in for her) and, roughly every other chapter, she breaks down, sobbing, for long stretches of time. This is not the individual I’d want in charge of Death. This is not someone I’d hire as an admin assistant in a yard and garden company. It’s clearly meant to depict her as an everyday chicklit kind of girl, but a little of that goes a very long way.

That aside, the author uses various world mythologies to great effect here. It’s not often that the same mythos contains Kali, Wodin, the Devil, and God. The various tasks are all structured to bring Callie and friends to the site of the final battle when she figures out who is behind the whole kidnapping scheme. This is not a big mystery, unless you’re Callie. I had it figured out less than halfway through the novel, but there was a neat twist to the solution that I didn’t foresee. I enjoyed the world created in this novel. Now, if Callie could exhibit a bit of brain and a bit of spine, she’d be a fun heroine. I’d like to see more of her smart little sister, Clio, and Runt, the hellhound puppy. They make a great team.

Rating: 6
March 2009
ISBN# 978-0-441-01694-5 (paperback)


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