Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reapers Book Review

Reapers Book CoverThe Reapers Trilogy is a dystopian tale with a supernatural twist that takes place in a futuristic, urban setting. Two teenagers, Phoenix and Singapore, male and female Reapers, collect souls of the dead and transport them to the Gateway where they will travel to their final destination. . .or so they are told.


You probably all know by now that Bryan Davis is one of my favoritest of favorite authors. So when he announced he was writing a dystopian story, well, I had to get my hands on it, especially while I’m writing my own dystopian novel.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. I knew I was going to like it, but it was so different from Davis’s other stuff. I mean, a Christian author writing about ghosts and people who collect souls? That seemed a bit odd. But I loved this book. It became an instant fave!

Our story takes place in a futuristic Chicago where the world is a much sadder, more struggling place. Not much goes into detail about why the Earth has taken on its dystopian state, but I actually liked that. It gave a bit of a mystery to it that added something to the story. The main character, Phoenix, is known as a Reaper, which is, in fact, a person who collects the souls of the dead. These Reapers transport their collected souls to the Gateway where, supposedly, the souls will have peace. If a soul isn’t reaped, it will roam the world as a ghost until a Reaper finds it and absorbs it in their special, soul reaping cloaks.

Phoenix goes along with the system, just waiting for his time as a Reaper to end. Although he can’t just sit around and do nothing. Even though it’s his job to reap the dead, his conscious doesn’t allow him to sit idly by while people drop like flies. He does his best to smuggle medicine to those in need, even though he knows doing such could get him in big trouble. Still, it helps give him some peace in his lonely, gruesome life as a Reaper. Just until his time is done.

When Singapore, a new female Reaper, pops into his life, Phoenix really begins to question his existence. Maybe the Gateway really isn’t what he’s been told all his life. With the help of Sing and another female Reaper, Shanghai, Phoenix tries to get to the bottom of all the questions and doubts cropping into his mind.

The biggest thing I loved about this story was the pacing. There was never a dull moment. The constant action, intriguing plot, and confusing riddles kept me interested from page one to the last. The writing style was a quick, easy read, keeping you turning those pages fast. Overall, I found the writing in this book a good bit superior to Davis’s other novels. As much as I love his stories (in fact, his Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series are my favorite books of all time), sometimes the writing can get a bit cheesy. The dialogue especially in Reapers felt so much more real compared to his other stories. Very rarely did I feel the narration or conversations getting over the top of cheesy. It all flowed nicely, making the characters jump off the pages.

The plot itself was fascinating. I wanted to know what was happening, making it impossible to put the book down. Davis always has a knack for coming up with such intriguing, complicated plots, which is why his stories are some of my favorites. Reapers was no exception. I kept flipping those pages, desperately wanting to discover the answers to all the riddles.

The villain was quite nasty. Which, yes, is a pro in my book. There are some villains you love to hate, and this gal fits that description too well. She kept the characters in a constant state of distraught and made so much tension on those pages. I think *I* physically tensed up when she made an appearance a few times just because I knew something horrible was about to happen. She was not someone you wanted to mess with! All the tension and emotion in the book was all so well done.

The character Singapore (or more commonly known as just Sing) was my favorite. She was a precious girl, but also had so many mysteries revolving around her that intrigued me so much. I love characters that are good but also have deep, dark secrets. So I super, super enjoyed Sing’s role in the book.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t real wild about the Reapers protagonist. Phoenix just didn’t have that loveable nature I’m accustomed to in Bryan Davis’s characters. Now, I didn’t hate him by any means. In fact, sometimes I liked him a lot. But overall I wasn’t crazy about the guy. He had a lot of good morals and was always trying to do the right thing, but sometimes I felt as if his motives weren’t in the right place. He has a lot of growing to do. But that’s not always a con. I suspect by the end of the trilogy I’ll like him a lot. Having a protagonist that needs to learn and grow is usually a key element to a story as long as they do end up the better by the end. So I won’t totally mark Phoenix as a con, he just annoyed me from time to time.

Shanghai also had a lot of problems that got on my nerves. I just never could really like her as hard as I tried. I hope she’ll grow a lot as the story goes on as well.

But Sing made up for both of them, so I won’t complain too much.

Being as how this was a Bryan Davis book, I was expecting a Christian conclusion to why souls could be reaped and ghosts were roaming everywhere. Yes, it was a supernatural story, but Davis always has deep, Christian messages in his tales, so I put up with all the weirdness because I figured it would be explained in some form or another. His other stories have a lot of strange, questionable things going on as well, but there was always a reasonable conclusion to them. Well. . .I never really got my answers in this one. It was all so very supernatural-y I was a bit uncomfortable with the whole thing. I mean, WHY can souls be reaped or turn into ghosts? That’s just not how things are done. BUT, with that said, this was only the first book of a trilogy, and most of the mysteries were not solved by the end. So, I’m giving the author the benefit of the doubt and holding out hope that all will be explained with a good message by the end.

And, as you can probably guess by now, it did have a very cliffhanger-y ending. Sometimes I like those, sometimes I want to scream at the author and ask WHYYY??? With Reapers I was a little bit in between. I felt fairly satisfied by the end, but I also felt like there could have been a little bit more of a conclusion to all the many, many questions thrown across the pages. By the end I was just more baffled than before. But that will just make reading the next book all the more enjoyable.

This book is about death, so there is a lot of morbid imagery going on. And be aware it’s action packed, which means multiple fight scenes. They were never too gruesome, but I’d be very wary of this book for younger readers. There is also quite a bit of intensity to it and some shocking events. It’s a much darker, grittier story than Davis’s other stuff, which I personally appreciate, but I just want to make sure everyone is aware.

Despite a few things I didn’t like, not to mention just the supernatural theme of the story, I loved this book. I couldn’t wait to find free time each day to read it and it kept me up late a few nights. Just know, it is set in first person, which used to would have been a major con to me, but I’ve grown to like first person and it worked well for this story. It was also in general just vastly different from Davis’s other novels, so if you’re expecting his normal sort of thing you might be a bit surprise. But, like I said earlier, there were a lot of elements to this story I found better than his older stuff. It had just the right action, intensity, and intriguing plot that put it on my favorites list. I hope to goodness the next book gets written fast because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.


  1. Okay, to be honest, when I saw you marked this book as "currently reading" on your Goodreads shelf, I began watching your progress because I really wanted to know what you thought of it. Reading over your review, it seems we had the same thoughts. Although I didn't give Reapers the excellent review you did, I do think Bryan Davis is a master storyteller. Yep. Phoenix and Shanghai were kinda... eh. And then Sing! I loved Sing! *glares at Mr. Davis because of reasons*

    Ahh... enough, Kiri. Let's just say, I was very much looking forward to this review, Lauri. And it did not disappoint. I'm sorry I wasn't able to enjoy the book as much as you did, but... I guess that's just me. I'm still working on getting into the dystopian genre. The whole reaping of souls was a little... well, out there. But there is so much left unsaid, so I'm hoping Bryan Davis will clear it all up in the next books. Maybe then I'll like it more.

    1. Hahaha! That's okay. I do that all the time, too. I'm always excited when I see someone on GoodReads reading a book I've read so I can see what they thought of it. Yay for GoodReads so we can stalk each other's progress! XD

      But yes, we did seem to have some of the same thoughts. I do hope Phoenix and Shanghai get to be better characters. But yes! Sing! And...and...mean authors. >.>

      I'm so glad you enjoyed my review. I always fear I'm going to botch them up and not make sense or get my facts wrong or something. I read so much sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with all the events in the books I read. XD My brain can't hold too much in I guess. Hehe.
      Well, that's all right! It was definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Used to I probably wouldn't have liked it quite as much either, but I've been branching out a little in the genres I like. And yeah, the reaping things threw me off a little, but I still enjoyed it immensely. Hopefully the next books will shed some more light on things.

    2. Goodreads is epic. I love that site. Probably more than is healthy for me. *grins*

      No, no, I love your reviews! Please keep them coming! By the way, did you ever see my review for Reapers? Just curious, 'cause I posted it on my book review site, KiriBeth.

      Bother... I'm forgetting... if you like Olaf and Disney, please stop by my blog.

    3. Oh, me too! I have to force myself not to be there all the time. Sooo addicting!

      Awww, thank you! I'm so glad you like them.
      Yes, yes, yes! I did see your review of it. I loved your review on it! It's funny how many similar thoughts we had on the book. XD

      Ooooh, funnn! Thank you, Kiri! :D

  2. Great review! I've never even heard of this one. I love Davis' "Dragons in Our Midst" series! But I'm a little wary of this one as I've discovered I dislike the dystopian/futuristic genre. . . Don't hate me! That doesn't mean I won't eventually try it. . . It's just with this particular genre being so popular now, end-of-the-world stuff, no hope in darkness, I was kinda thrown off. And I admit, I don't care for stories written in first person. . . But again, that doesn't mean I won't read them! (One of my absolute favorite books is written in first--"Ride the River" by Louis L'Amour) :]

    Thanks for reviewing this! I love hearing what other readers with similar tastes in fiction have to say.

    Have a great week!

    1. Why thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. ^_^
      Yeah, I *think* he self published this one so it hasn't gotten around as much as his other works, so just trying to get the word out. His Dragons in Our Midst series it the BEST!!

      I will most certainly not hate you for not liking dystopian! Actually...to tell you the truth... I hate MYSELF for liking it. I usually try to avoid all the big hypes like The Hunger Games and such, but somehow I got sucked into this one and got hooked. Shameful, shameful. So please, go on not liking. I wish I didn't. XD But knowing Bryan Davis I'm sure this trilogy will have a lot of messages of hope!
      If you remember, I used to HATE first person! It's just very, very recently that I learned to like it. So I completely understand! This is certainly the type of book that not everyone is going to like, and that's fine.

      You're mighty welcome. Thank you for reading. ^_^ I do as well, which is why I always get excited when I see you reviewing something. I love your reviews!

      You as well!

  3. I've been looking for his one series, the dragon one. (I think, I might be mixed up here.) I am having the hardest time finding it though. Maybe my library will get this new one in and I can at least read something by him, because he sounds like he is a really good Author.

    1. Oh, yes! If you haven't read anything by him you MUST. He's my favorite! The Dragons in Our Midst series is AMAZING. There's also a trilogy he did called Echoes from the Edge that...well, I can't even put into words how epic and intriguing it is. It's very different, but suuuch a good read.

      He did another series Dragons of Starlight and Tales of Starlight (both sort of the same series but told from different points of view) that was okay, but definitely not his best in my humble opinion. Reapers, though, was awesome! If you like that sort of thing.


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