Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1) by Amber Benson

Book: Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1) by Amber Benson
Release Date: 24 Feb 2009
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Demons
Summary: Buffy fans will go wild! SHE WAS TARA ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Now she's the author of Ace's hottest new series— killer novels featuring Calliope Reaper-Jones, who doesn't want to be daddy's little girl anymore...Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig's List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil's Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.
Buy It: Paperback or Kindle eBook

Review: I never complain about writing mechanics in my reviews. My writing isn't the best, or even middleish in my opinion, so what gives me the right to nitpick others'? The writing style in this book drove me batshit crazy though. Instead of if being actual 'book' writing, it was 'try-to-hard sassy diary' writing or something equally annoying. This is what nearly the entire book was like: "So, of course, no alarm meant no wakey-wakey on time. Which in plain English meant that when I finally did get up, it was one (!) in the afternoon." What the hell is that exclamation point?! And when I read that line, all I can see is a bimbo snapping her gum and twirling her hair with her head tipped trying to look sexy. Here's the thing though, I didn't have to imagine that image because that's pretty much who the Calliope was. ""Can’t we just pretend I’m, like . . . you know, a substitute teacher, and you’re gonna, like, give me my emergency teaching credentials ’cause it’s, like, you know, an emergency?"" To make this even funnier, at one point Calliope says she isn't good nearly as good at science as she is at English.

A huge pet peeve of mine is when the narrator spoils upcoming events for you. Callie kept it vague, but it was still enough to get my feathers ruffled. "And—though I couldn’t have known it then—my destiny..." Here's my issue, I don't care that it's not a real spoiler. It still disrupts the flow of the story and has the potential to ruin things. I feel like it takes away from the natural build up of tension. This was a huge issue for me when I read Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning. I simply don't like when authors do this.

The parts that should have been exciting or interesting in Death's Daughter weren't. They almost read like a mean parody or soap opera-ed version of some another urban fantasy novel. ""It’s your father, Miss Calliope. He’s been . . . He’s been . . . kidnapped." I heard a sharp intake of breath and realized it had come from me.” Picturing this scene in my head, I see Calliope whipping her head towards the camera after this and music going dun dun DUN! Everything just felt over dramatized to the point of silliness. If you don't take this book seriously (like seeing a horror movie because you think it's hilarious), I think you'll enjoy that aspect. I found it frustrating though because I love urban fantasy and I felt like Death's Daughter was making fun of it.

There were many little misphrasings that made certain parts of the book not make logical sense. I like rereading lines because I love them, not because I'm horrified by something phrased oddly so that I misread it. "Her pale skin and pitch-black eyes and hair made such a shockingly gorgeous combination that Clio, in her infinite seventeen-year-old wisdom, had decided to shave her head to make herself look more normal. It hadn’t worked as well as she had hoped, but at least it did stop grown men from asking for her hand in marriage. Something that can be kind of embarrassing when you’re a freshman in high school and the "grown man" is your totally hot twentysomething substitute biology teacher." It's such a little thing but it sounds like Clio is a seventeen year old freshmen when she's previously described as a genius. But this is just one example. I assume Calliope is referring to the past but there isn't enough there for me to even be sure of it. Is the sister a held back because of something relating to the family's magic? I don't know.

I actually really liked the storyline. It was fun and different. I think I would have liked the book a lot more if I hadn't just read what is quite possibly my new favorite YA title right before picking this up to read. I just wasn't as tolerant as I usually am because my previous read was truly out of this world. I think that if you’re looking for a quick urban fantasy and are willing to tolerate some flaws that you’ll enjoy Death's Daughter.

You see, the most important thing I’d learned from my Dog Whisperer training was that you had to ignore the animal until it was in a calm, submissive state—even if you were terrified it was going to make you its lunch. Obviously, Cesar Millan didn’t deal with giant, three-headed, human meat-munching monsters, but I figured his teachings would still apply, no matter what size the dog. I just had to ignore the mutt until it decided that I was the master of the pack, not him—which I hoped was going to be sooner rather than later because my heart was totally beating in triple time, and I so did not want to have a heart attack while I was visiting Hell.
I’d heard the medical response time there was abysmal.

Rating: 2 Bites (Just okay)


  1. Anything that's like Buffy is great for me.

    It's too bad you didn't love it. The cover with the dog is gorgeous!

  2. I'm sorry it didn't blow your mind away. I was quite curious about this book but when I read all the mixed reviews, I decided to pass. I agree though, it's difficult to read a book like that after a book we loved. I had the same problem with my last book too. Will you read the sequel?

  3. I don't know I am not a huge fan of demons. I do like Pandora's Box by Gracen Miller and will read Hell's Phoniex by her. But demons don't seem to be that agreeable with me. I do however LOVE angels. I also can not stand when the book doesn't make sense in anyway. It has to be free flowing. Great review.


  4. This book has me intrigued. I too, am harder on a book if I loved the one I was previously reading. But, sometimes I can over look little mistakes if the story is good enough. Either way, this book is now on my TBR list. Sometimes, negative things combined with positive, makes me want to read it just to see what I think, lol.

  5. Dang! I really wanted to read this, because of Benson's role on Buffy. Usually, I'm skeptical of actors writing books, but, for some reason, I felt like this one might be good, so I bought it at the Borders going out of business sale.

    And now I fear I'm going to hate it, because that writing style does sound really obnoxious. What she's trying to do is be like Janet Evanovich, but she's probably going to fail. NOOOOOO!

  6. Yeah, me too...there are alot of books which have many flaws..but if the story is good and I'd grown so into it.. I just ignore those..and focus on what I'm reading...
    This review is good it got me interested to make this book on my wishlist..:)

  7. I haven't heard of this book before, but after reading your review I don't think I want to read it. Just reading about it drove me nuts so I don't think this is the one for me. Do you think you'll give this author another try?

  8. Thanks for reminding me why I wanted to read this. Need to dig it out.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

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