Fiction, Young Adult


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced reader’s copy of this book.


Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death…only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

My Take:

I picked this up because I’ve always found Japanese mythology to be intriguing, and on that mythology, this novel 100% delivers. The writer has pulled from English, Irish, and Japanese mythologies to create a breathtaking fantasy world filled with magic, monsters, and ruthless gods. At the same time, the story is grounded in the pure trauma of Ren’s life as a half reaper, half shinigami who fits into no world at all.

What astonishes me most about this book is the author’s ability to take such a deeply flawed character and make the reader root for her. Ren is not nice. In fact, she has very few redeeming qualities at all. Her love for her loyal brother, Neven, might well be her only good quality. That said, I could not stop hoping that she would succeed–that she would get everything she wanted.

This dark tale is definitely one to look out for, and I think it’s sure to be the great YA hit of October (especially since it manages to avoid the typical YA tropes and cliches).


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