19 March 2012

Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Published: 20th March 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Series: Croak #1
Source: eArc thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in? - From Goodreads

I was a massive fan of the Series Dead Like Me and I felt hollow and alone when it finished, not to worry though this new series of books looks like it might just be the ticket to fill the void. I have always thought the idea of being a teen reaper was cool so I was eager to jump right in and get started!!

Lex has become a problem child in the last couple of years. After punching out another pupil at school her parents decide that the best course of action is to send Lex to stay with her uncle Mort to "work on his farm". As soon as Lex arrives in Croak she finds out that her uncle Mort is not really a farmer, but is actually a grim reaper. Soon Lex starts to learn the trade and finally find a place where she fits in, but is what she is doing right and is Lex prepared to stay in Croak indefinitely?

Lexington or Lex for short makes bad decisions and has a very short temper. I really enjoyed this about her, she did not back down from a fight and when it came to dealing with her partner Driggs she held her own. At one point this did result in both of them having a black eye, but I thought this was really funny! I enjoyed Lex as a character and how she interacted with others, that may be because I could be difficult myself as a teen. Driggs was similar to Lex in that he is a headstrong character who often does or says the wrong thing, I thought they complimented each other well and that made for a good read.

The other cast of characters in this book were also complimentary to the story and I liked how they all worked together in this unusual town. The characters I felt we didn't get a chance to know very well were Lex's twin sister and her parents. They always felt like they were on the edge of Lex's life, even during the times she was at home and this made it a little difficult to understand their actions.

I really liked this book and I enjoyed the exploration of the themes of good and evil. When the reapers take a soul and can see a murderer standing by, should the reapers do something or should they just leave the situation. Lex struggles with this concept for the whole book and to what extent she should get involved, but there is always humour to keep the story fun and engaging. Also the details describing the town of Croak were well written with nice details and touches to make the town come alive for me.

I really liked the story in this book and I finished it really quickly. I can't wait to pick up the next in the series and see what happens next for the reapers.

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