I recently read that God is a process, not a being. In this novel, Death is a person, not a process – and she’s a leetle pissy. Alternately known as Eve, Helena, Anna, etc., Death is a hot girl in a polka-dot dress…(young male narrator)!
Like many beautiful creatures, Death is lethal. She tricks Adam and other humans into accepting contracts with her by withholding part of the information. (Remind you of anyone? At one point Adam jokes that he doesn’t play the fiddle.)
Possibly like his writer creator, Adam hates math (“if it were a physical entity I’d punch it in the face”) and spends time in graveyards because they’re cool. (Well, that’s how *I* feel anyway…)
“The graveyard was about a hundred acres of marble, granite, iron and bronze structures that pledged to protect the remains of something useless to most, but worth the world to a few, at the cost of their own degradation. I found them inspiriang and Erica was someone I wanted to share that with.
“I pulled in through the big iron gates and parked in the desolate lot. I grabbed my backpack and the picnic basket and escorted her all the way to the spot I wanted to set up in. It was a twenty-minute walk, but every time Erica complained I hit her in the back of the head with a stick. I learned that from the cattle wranglers in Venezuela.”
- The “Death Signature” –a live tattoo which allows the contracted human to speak to Death at any time
- Where Death comes from (was she always Death?)
- Her grievances with Life and Adam’s argument with her
- The Spanish language interplay between Adam and Erica — Her family is from Argentina so he makes fun of her accent
2 mistakes I made with this book:
1) I almost didn’t buy it because I read “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” somewhere (not in relation to the book) and I have already done Bolivia.
2) I thought the book was set in Caracas, but the author was born there; the book is set in the US.
It didn’t matter because I enjoyed the book a lot! And anyway most of it takes place in generic space – it isn’t a place-driven novel.
Who Are These Characters, Anyway?
Adam is well-drawn: By turns cocky, silly, vulnerable, and just plain scared and angry. No matter what, he’s not about to just lay down and well…die. Or to let the things he love most be taken from him, even by Death.
Erica too is brave and smart. no “girl” stereotypes here, and…
Death is appealingly mysterious and even vulnerable at times.
The book is not without humor either.I caught maybe three sentences I thought needed minor editing, but nothing that pulled me out of the story. I enjoyed this book a lot. Great effort from a new author (published 2013 I believe and it seems there will be a sequel).
The Last Word
Five pasteles with awesome sauce!