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A Reader of Fictions: (Don't Fear) the Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, March 18, 2012

(Don't Fear) the Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult

Croak, Book 1

Author: Gina Damico
Pages: 311
ARC Acquired from: Graphia via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

Damico has a really interesting writing style; she definitely has a cadence of her own. She also puts a unique spin on things. For example, due to Lex's extreme violence, her mom ties her up in jump ropes to have a serious talk. Lex's mom also is obsessed with American history, particularly military history, so much so, in fact, that she named her children for Civil War battles; Lex is short for Lexington.

For example, here's a pretty typical quote from Croak: "She wished, as almost all kids wish at one point or another, that she could turn into a pterodactyl and fly away and never come back." Obviously, Damico's really funny, but it's definitely a quirky, dark humor. Her whole style definitely took some adjusting to, but I really appreciate the snarkiness of her writing.

My initial thought, and why I was attracted to this one (aside from the fact that Gina is an Apocalypsie) is because the premise sounded very Dead Like Me. If you haven't seen the show, I highly recommend you go watch at least the first episode, which is one of the best things I have ever seen ever. Anyway, they do have some things in common, like the grim reapers and the sarcastic heroine and the dark sense of humor. However, I also got a bit of a Eureka vibe from Croak, since the town is full of such strange, intelligent people. How can those things not add up to be some brand of awesome?

Thought your 9-5 job was bad?

So yeah, it's pretty freaking awesome. Lex is a cool character, strong, sarcastic and sassy. Plus, she's so not the typical heroine. For one thing she's as violent as Ashline from Wildefire. Also unlike most YA heroines, she really doesn't want anything to do with all of that stupid teenage hormone-driven love stuff. For that reason, she is not pleased at having to share a domicile with the unfortunately super hot (and often annoying) Briggs. All of the characters are vibrant and quirky.

If you like dark humor and stories out of the norm, do not miss Croak. Another stellar debut from the Apocalypsies! I am so excited that there's going to be more of this series!

Rating: 4.5/5

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Blogger Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I've had this one on my wishlist since I first saw the cover and read the blurb. Thanks for the review! I loved Dead Like Me and was so disappointed when it was canceled.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

March 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Me too. The show was amazing. However, I will warn everyone out there in the interwebs to not watch the Dead Like Me movie. It was one of the worst things I have ever seen.

March 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Christina Kit. said...

I love that style!

How quirky:) Actually the whole town of Croak sounds quirky, which is a great irreverent take on reapers:)

March 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

Did I tell you I bought this one because of your review? I still need to read it, and I'm so looking forward to it!

May 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay! SO GOOD! Hope you love it!

May 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Steena said...

I just got this from the library last night and will probs be buying it and it's sequel as soon as I can get to the book store. I just wanted to say the one thing I missed is that this cover is reflective and it looks freaking sweet. I'm almost half way through now but, as it sits on my desk at work, I keep being distracted by the shiny.

June 20, 2012 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

The sequel doesn't come out until later this year actually! BUT I am sure it will be well worth buying. So glad you're enjoying it!

It is super shiny! It could be hazardous to your health if you tried to look at it outdoors on a sunny day!

June 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Steena said...

*Suddenly realizes the dangers of following a blog reviewer who receives early covers and pre-published copies*

June 20, 2012 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Wah wah!

Sorry, dude! Well, this one's so good that I still remember what happened as I head towards the sequel, so you should be fine!

June 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM  

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