What a fun new series! It had a few off notes, but on the whole I was really impressed. The heroine, Alex, was surprisingly relatable. I winced over some of her life choices–the one night stands being chief among them–but that never kept me from liking her. She was pretty friendly and down to earth for the most part.
It was refreshing to have such a normal heroine. She has power, sure, but she also has the same worries as any regular Joe on the street. She struggles to pay the bills and has family issues that she prefers not to dwell on. She has a little dog who is the only constant man in her, and that’s the way she likes it. She talks to herself because she spends too much time alone, which is a hard habit to break when she’s temporarily stuck rooming with another person. She doesn’t like to get close to people, but she has her three best friends, and that’s enough for her.
The world that the author created here was very interesting. I won’t deny that it occasionally felt familiar, but it was unique enough to please me. I wish we could have had a little more insight into the soul collectors, but I’m willing to be patient and hope we learn more about them in the next book. I’m very curious to see what exactly makes Alex different from a lot of the other grave witches. Why is Death so accessible to her when he isn’t to the others?
I liked that Alex’s power wasn’t without consequences. It’s nice to have a heroine that doesn’t have an effortless, unending well of power to tap. She didn’t always have the bigger power and she came out on the losing side more often than not. Her one effortless talent, her grave-sight, had a really nasty side effect when she turned it off, too. Suffering from blindness after each session, and having her night vision shot in the long run, really went a long way toward making Alex vulnerable. Even if she had a huge attitude (which she doesn’t), her weaknesses would help soften her. So good choice on the author’s part there. Speaking of her sight–I’m fascinated by the development at the end. I wonder where the author’s going with it.
There were two potential love interests introduced in the book, but I pray the author isn’t turning this into another lame love-triangle. I didn’t like Falin at first, but he grew on me throughout the book. His attitude in the beginning really rubbed me the wrong way and I was praying Alex would withhold information just to spite him. Alas, she is more grown up than me. The further I read on, the more approachable Falin became. He is actually–shocker!–a really nice guy who’s willing to put up with a lot of vague answers and a rather hilarious fear of intimacy. Plus, what we learned about who he is has me quite intrigued.
The second love interest is Death, one of the soul collectors. He’s been popping in and out of Alex’s life since she was little, and although she doesn’t know much about him, they’re friends. Not close friends, mind you, but their relationship is dependable. Death was surprisingly open about his emotions toward the end. I’m not sure if I liked that or not, but I’m willing to hang for the ride and wait to see where the author’s going.
The only real issues I had were the occasional sections of confusion I ran into. Sometimes I’d have to reread an action scene to figure out what magic was doing what, because it felt a little bit confusing and jumbled. Also, I know Alex isn’t the best sleuth out there, but some of the obvious clues she missed made me wince. At least she was honest about her magical skills paying the bills, not her investigative ones. It wasn’t a huge irritant, but I hope she’ll sharpen up a bit in the next one.
“Sorry. One handshake doesn’t admit you to the good graces club.”
“But one phrase said in anger–justified anger that someone was tampering with evidence in my case–is enough to bar me from it?”
I smiled at him. “First impressions suck that way.”