Reaper's Novice by Cecilia Robert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3.5 Star Review
Reaper's Novice is the first book in the Soul Collector series written by Cecilia Robert. I would like to thank Ms. Robert for the copy of her book in exchange for a fair review.
The premise of the story is a new twist on the Grimm Reaper, but the head Reaper himself is not a main character in this book. Instead, we meet Ana - a regular high school girl with normal high school problems. In order to save her family from tragedy, she offers her services to Grimm (aka Ernest) as his Novice. In doing so, her life changes irrevocably. This book is about her initiation into this new world, while still trying to maintain her relationships with her family and friends in the 'real world'.
What I liked:
*The main character Ana was really well written. She was strong, stubborn and smart...with a huge heart. Her family and close friends were her entire world. Zig, Ana's best reaping buddy, was another favorite character. He was very funny, loyal and obviously cared about Ana a lot. My other favorite character was Bastian, the High Priest (extraordinaire) of the Draangel (those of Dragon and Angel lineage). In fact, mostly all of the characters were very well written and developed with clear purpose in the book.
*The descriptive writing and clear creativity used to imagine the Other world (where Grimm and the other beings that co-exist) on the page was fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about Grimm's palace, the Draangel's club, the Mirrorlands and learning about Ana's heritage.
*Even the sadder moments (and there are a few) made me like the characters, and the book as a whole, even more. Ana is a regular girl who has experienced fear, love, loss, self-sacrifice and pain...yet still manages to put her love of her family first.
What didn't work as well:
*The pace of the book is all over the place. It is slow in the beginning, but then picks up...only to slow down again, but then takes off once more to the finish. I started the book and almost put it down as a (DNF - Did not finish)...which would have been a mistake. You will need to push through the slow bits to get to the good stuff. It will be worth it.
*There are a LOT of secondary characters that you meet through association to Grimm (and are tied to Ana, as you will later discover). A second story line is introduced and it becomes clear that Ana is more than she appears to be. It can be confusing with regard to who wants Ana for what purpose. I hope this gets clearer as the series goes on.
*Rolf. As Ana's love interest, he did not cut it for me. From being MIA, to the jekyll-hyde routine (when the truth comes out)...even when he was being sweet, he never inspired the warm & fuzzies for me. (Zig on the other hand...just sayin').
In the end:
Overall this is a great new twist on the Grimm Reaper concept and a good new YA read - with great writing and likable characters - that is a sure bet for your reading pleasure. I know I will be looking out for the next book in the series!
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