Monday, April 2, 2012
Croak by Gina Damico
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?
Croak was a very quick, easy, fun read. It had many memorable laugh out loud moments all starring the star of our book, Lex Bartleby.
So, I guess I'll just go straight into the characters. Well the most obvious is Lex, whose full name is Lexington. Ha! Bet you didn't guess that! Anyway, I think the shortened version really suits her, it's short (no way!) and it's the perfect combination of vowels and consonants that give the name an overall strong and rebellious feel to it. Awesome. Lex is a very strong and entertaining character whose snarky remarks and quick temper will never cease to amuse me. She first comes off as a very violent character, though her violent instincts are soon explained to be the cause of her "Killer" hormones or whatnot. I don't think that's what they call it in the book, but that's just the image I got in my head :)
I suppose I should explain what a Killer is, well in the Reaper world there are two types: The Killers who have to touch the dead person to release the soul from the body, and the Cullers who then guide the soul into a vessel. They always work in pairs. Anyway, back to Lex. She's lived a perfectly good life under the loving care of her parents and her twin sister Cordy, and then she just suddenly becomes violent. Go back to the Killer hormones section. Her parents can no longer take her outrageous behaviour-- yeah yeah, been there, heard that-- but do you realise that her parents used rope restraints on her? Yes, that's right, my eyes just popped out. Now, I may not live in America… But I'm pretty sure that's illegal, or at least highly frowned upon by society (quote Willy Wonka for the last part :D) I'm just quite surprised that her parents would go that far… are you allowed to do that?? well…. Moving on. She gets sent to Uncle Mort.
Wow. What a name… Mort. Is that not the french word for 'dead', or something like that? And I'm sure it means the same thing in other languages as well. It's clever… until you realise someone (even if they are fictitious) pretty much named their child death? Holy Moly Ravioli! How morbid… anyhoo, Mort seems like a very awesome crazy uncle, a real role model :)
Now, do you remember when I said Reapers always work in pairs? Well, enter Driggs. **whistles**. Lex sees him, Lex is attracted to him, and within the space of 24 hours, she punches him in the eye. Score.
Their relationship though not necessarily realistic in the way they almost immediately feel an attraction and all that, was an interesting and undoubted entertaining one. The quick and witty comments they made were enough to have me burst out laughing. It was all very sweet. Now, I never pegged Lex to be a jealous kind of girl, and I really don't like it when characters get all possessive of someone they don't even know and then tell themselves it's nothing. It's seriously annoying. But then again… THAT compared with what Driggs had up his sleeve seems tame in comparison. I guess you're all thinking: "oh la la! What could this mysterious thing possibly be?" or maybe not :) But you'll have to read it to find out :P
The idea of the book has been one that hundreds of authors have explored, but I like how Gina Damico puts her own spin on things. It was a different read, and I very much enjoyed it. The plot is slightly predictable at moments and a sometimes drags a tad but all is well because things do move along, and there are always funny scenarios to encourage you along the way.
Go get yourself a copy! I haven't got an actual rating system yet… but I'm working on it. For now I'll just stick to good ol' stars.
3.75/5 stars :)
Yes, every point counts.
Round it up to 4.