by Tiffany Nicole Smith
Review by KM
I have to admit, I’ve had a crush on teenager Grim Reaper novels since I read Croak by Gina Damico a few years ago. After reading the summary, there was no chance that I was going to pass by Naomi Grim.
Collect lifestones from humans after they die.
Rebellious, sixteen-year-old Naomi craves a normal life, but unfortunately, she’s a Grim by birth. That’s right, she sees dead people and hoards their living essence in a stone. Not a fun occupation.
In order to be good at her job, she must live among human teenagers for weeks at a time. But Naomi soon becomes attached to the kids she’s been assigned to watch over. And knowing that these teens are gonna die under less than ideal circumstances, she has the opportunity to prevent their deaths from occurring. Only one big problem, interfering with death is the worst crime a Grim can commit. If she intervenes, she’ll put herself and her family in danger.
Naomi must make the hardest choice of her career, go against the sacred covenant or watch her new friends walk blindly to their deaths.
The first half of the book wasn’t spectacular; it kept me intrigued, enough that I wanted to read more, but I was so certain that I knew what was going to happen. It seemed predictable. I was wrong.
BAM! The second half of the book was this fast-paced action-packed adventure that made everything worth it. Pieces came together in a way that I never would have expected; some character’s motivations were revealed, while others remain a mystery to discover in the sequel, Keira Grim.
There is one frustration I held with the novel, but it a frustration that is not limited to just this book, but most urban fantasies I’ve been reading lately. When presenting me with an entire new race that is bemused by human traits or lifestyles, it’d be great to see more than a few minor differences in the two races. The culture of the Grims only seemed to differ in lifespan, if they could earn it, and the fact they retained values humans had in the 1950’s, ignoring anything progressive. Some of the younger Grims seem frustrated with this, but seeing the same typical class system and similar prejudices that we have in our society makes me wince. It does make the plot more relatable and could be argued to be a comparison on aspects of our own culture, but it’s hard to see why more Grims can’t relate to humans when they are so similar.
I’ll definitely be reading Keira Grim, though. Naomi’s ending was compelling enough to make me want to know what happens to Nowhere.