Title: The Reluctant Reaper (The Reluctant Reaper #1)
Author: Gina X. Grant
Pub Date: June 17, 2013
Source: e-ARC via netgalley
Summary: Life for Kirsty d’Arc might not be perfect, but it’s far from hellish. She likes her job, has a great BFF and truly admires Conrad, her boss. But when she dives in front of a lunatic’s blade to save him from certain death, she finds out Conrad isn’t so admirable after all. In fact, he’s traded her soul to the Devil!
While her body lies comatose on the Mortal Coil, Kirsty’s spirit is dragged straight to Hell…which is not quite the fire-and-brimstone abyss she’d expected. In fact, the place is quirky, wacky, and not without charm. Desperate to reunite body and soul before her time runs out, she seeks out allies, earning the friendship of a powerful drag demon, a psychic server and most importantly, Hell’s civil servant. But what of her growing attraction to Dante, the sexy Reaper with a flair for romantic language—can she forgive him for scything her soul?
Stuck in the netherworld, Kirsty vows she’ll do everything on her postmortem bucket-list, starting with getting her life back and ensuring that Conrad has Hell to pay!
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Everything you need to know about The Reluctant Reaper can be found in its summary: on her 25th birthday, Kirsty d’Arc was accidentally reaped when she jumped in front of a scythe meant for her boss. The man who was more like a father to her had offered up her soul in exchange for fame and fortune and now the Reaper has come to collect. Suffice it to say things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Kirsty’s body is technically still alive, though in a near-vegetative state, meaning she’s stuck in Hell until Reaper management can sort out the whole mess.
The Reluctant Reaper screamed guilty pleasure and I was really looking forward to spending a giggle-filled afternoon with it. Just like Dante’s reaping, however, things went awry. Speaking of, that reaper Dante? Turns out he’s the Dante Alighieri. Perhaps you’ve heard of a little work called The Divine Comedy? Yeah, that’s him. Only now he’s wavy-haired and hunkalicious. His undeniable mastery over the written word is sorely lacking in this novel, causing him to come off as more of a lovesick teenage boy than the famed poet.
If Dante’s poetry was the worst thing about The Reluctant Reaper I would have been happy. Instead I was thrown pun after pun, to the point where it was no longer punny (I am so sorry). I’m all about cheesy. Witty phrases and plays-on-words are so my thing. Here, though, they were taken a step too far and after a few chapters it began to feel as though a conversation (or Kirsty’s running narrative, for that matter) couldn’t happen without a handful of puns. In the beginning I truly giggled and thought they were clever. A few chapters in they began losing their luster and by the end of the book I was flat-out frustrated. Sybil Serpent (and her union!), gee-gnomes and metro-gnomes, the GI’s (Good Intentions) that line the roads, Sue Sayer and Claire Voyant, and Dante’s gargoyle Jenni (because her fur gets all over – Jennifur harhar) all made multiple appearances. There were times the author must have been feeling especially clever because she would set up a paragraph of dialog – that usually had nothing to do with the current topic – just so she could whip out a phrase. Enough is enough, madam.
If it wasn’t such (I accidentally typed suck at first – that should tell you what my mind thought of this book!) a short, quick read I highly doubt I would have finished. I went into The Reluctant Reaper expecting a fun, light-hearted story. Instead I got a story VERY heavy on the jokes and not so interested in actual plot. Kirsty spent the majority of the novel wandering around Hell simply taking in all the sights and sounds. I wanted to like this book, but sadly it wasn’t for me.