Sarcastic—sometimes devastatingly so—repartee connects readers to the band of surly teenage grim reapers risking everything on their mission to save the Afterlife.
Uncle Mort’s plan to save the Afterlife by enlisting Junior Grims to help destroy the portals that access it is full of risks, loopholes and secrets—and fiery-tempered, impulsive Lex is the plan’s unstable lynchpin. Combined, these elements set the stage for Damico (Croak, 2012; Scorch, 2013) to dispatch favorite characters to their untimely demises (a difficult but admirable choice that maintains the integrity of a novel about grim reapers). In spite of the necessary tragedies, Damico avoids complete bleakness by infusing characters’ responses to nearly overwhelming odds with irreverent, brash humor (as Mort remarks, “If you can’t have fun at the end of the damn world, when can you?”). The banter reminds readers of the resiliency of the human spirit and its astounding ability to create moments of normalcy (even joy) in the most trying of times. Yes, it’s a novel about violence, hate and vengeance, but it’s also about love, redemption and triumph. A quick refresher of the first two novels will help decrease confusion, as detailed reminders of events and characters from previous novels are scarce.
A gut-wrenching, laugh-out-loud, gritty, honest and brave ending to an appealing trilogy. (Fantasy. 14 & up)