Title: Death of The Body [Crossing Death 1]
Author: Rick Chiantaretto
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Horror, New Adult
Rating: 4 Stars (3.5)
I grew up in a world of magic. By the time I was ten I understood nature, talked to the trees, and listened to the wind. When the kingdom of men conquered my town, I was murdered by one of my own—the betrayer of my kind. But I didn’t stay dead.
I woke to find myself in a strange new world called Los Angeles. The only keys to the life I remembered were my father’s ring, my unique abilities, and the onslaught of demons that seemed hell-bent on finding me. Now I must find out who I really am, protect my friends, and get back to my beloved hometown of Orenda.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Death of The Body by Rick Chiantaretto was not exactly what I expected, but it was certainly a fascinating read. I thought this book was going to be your usual, angsty, teen-becomes-grim-reaper story, but that isn’t exactly what I got.
The book is the story of Edmund, a boy from the world of Orenda, where mages live in harmony with nature and in conflict with the human race. Evil spirits, Energumen, roam the land in search of unwary people to possess and control. Despite the dangers, Edmund’s childhood is filled with adventure, friends, family, and his magical connection to nature. All that changes one day when his people are betrayed by one of their own, and Edmund’s life is thrown into uncertain chaos.
I’ll admit. At first, I was confused. I’d read that this was a YA novel, but the main character was barely 10 years old. For more than half the book, Edmund was under 14. It threw me off. However, this changed later in the book, and for the remainder of the story, Edmund was a student in college. I can’t fault the author for the way the story was put together. I can’t imagine it having been written any other way. I think it was important to the story line to show Edmund’s childhood, just as it was important to show his older self… however, it did make it hard to place this in the YA category. The first half of the book is very clearly Middle-Grade, and the latter half, I feel, should have been labeled New Adult. There’s large amount of gore, and there are intimate situations that aren’t really appropriate for the early YA crowd—it didn’t feel like it fit into the category it was placed.
Character-wise, I liked the characters. Edmund was an intelligent, conscientious boy, and his friends were equally as enjoyable…. but I didn’t feel like I had a personal investment in any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested to see where Edmund’s story was leading, but it wasn’t a soul-gripping heart-wrenching concern over his life. I think part of that is my own fault though. I’m used to reading romance novels where the reader’s association with the main characters is a little deeper than that usually presented in a fantasy novel. I can’t hold that against the story. I will say, however, that I was a little disappointed in the romantic side of the story, regardless. The relationship between Xia and Edmund moved quickly and didn’t seem to have a lot of emotion behind it. I wish it had been developed a little slower.
That aside, the story was well written. There were a few spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences, but nothing too jarring. Overall, I liked the it. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll hold off on long explanations and in-depth delving into the religious aspect of it and how it related to the world building, but it was one of the most fascinating part of the story. The world building was excellent and engaging on a level I didn’t expect. It was a completely new way of looking at the Grim Reaper mythos, and I loved every bit of it. Would I read this book again? I don’t know. It was a good read, but I don’t know that it has a lot of re-read value. Would I continue on with the series? Yes. Definitely. Would I recommend it? Yes. If you enjoy fantasy, you’ll get a kick out of this fresh take on the Grim Reaper. I would highly recommend giving it a chance.