Published 2009 359 pages
Reviewed by Ania Tyburska
Summary (from the book jacket)
My name is Calliope Reaper-Jones, and I’m Death’s daughter.
For the last few years I’d been in a state of bliss – living under a self-imposed Forgetting Charm, because I so did not want to go into the family business. What I wanted was a glamorous career in New York City and the opportunity for a normal life – buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from craigslist, Web surfing for organic dim sum for my boss. And then my father’s Executive Assistant, a faun named Jarvis, showed up to tell me that my dad had been kidnapped.
Good-bye Forgetting Charm. Hello (unwanted) responsibility. Not only am I expected to step into the CEO slot on the company board, but I have to “prove my worth” by competing against the Devil’s protégé – who’s so hot in more ways than one. The contest involves finding three (why is it always three?) objects of power. In Hell.
One of them is this adorable puppy – who happens to be a hellhound. The others are turning out to be not much fun. All this so I can take (unwanted) charge of Death, Inc.
I cannot say much about the author, Amber Benson, not having read any of her previous works, but I do remember her as “Tara” from the cast of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and as far as the recommendations in fantasy world go, this must be one of the strongest. “Death’s Daughter” is very upbeat, with the language simply swelling with pop- cultural references and snappy come- backs. The world in the novel is a happy mix of countless religions and belief systems with references to some rarely known demons and legends. The main mystery is wonderful in its simplicity and though a few episodes can be misleading, it all comes together in the end.
There are no vampires in the novel and I cannot really see them ever fitting into the Calliope Reaper-Jones universe. The characters are pretty much superficial and even the Devil himself is more of a card board creation, with a face taken from Stones music video, than a real evil entity. The male protagonist, Devil’s protégé can be only described as insipid and his deeds and motivations are utterly lost to me.
The intrigue starts with the kidnapping of all the members of the Board of Death, Inc, and yes it is a shareholder version of the Grim Reaper. The whole situation calls for some extraordinary measures to be taken, namely forces the Death’s middle daughter, Callie, to take over the family business. Callie is something of a black sheep in the family. She never wanted the immortality and is struggling to remain “normal” despite all the pressure she is facing. Unfortunately Callie herself is this novels greatest weakness.
I not so much take issue with Callie, as the whole generation of demented fashion victims that seem to populate chick novels these days. Really, the fact that someone can tell Prada from Kate Spade does not mean that the said person is a sorry dimwit without a half intelligent thought. It was funny when Mary Janise Davidson introduced her Queen Betsy, but by the third book in the series the act got already old. In case of Calliope Reaper- Jones it is just plainly sad.
The morose heroine spends her time whining and making some offbeat digressions, when everyone around try to solve her problems for her. She seems to be more interested in her own mental breakdowns than her father’s and sister’s kidnapping and proves pretty much useless when it comes to formulating a coherent thought. What is more she is genuinely obnoxious and why anyone actually helps her is above me.
Do not get wrong. Death’s Daughter is a perfect read for a lazy afternoon, when the rain taps slowly on the roof and our IQ levels simmer somewhere below 100, or after a taxing day in the office. It is funny, fast-paced and superficial, so you do not need to exert yourself and search for some deeper meaning. Just brace yourself. Calliope Reaper- Jones is utterly and unceasingly annoying.
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