Lana is a Reaper, her job is to transport souls from the land of the living to Limbo city then across the sea to whichever afterlife they belong in. She’s not very good at it – oh she’s competent enough, but she doesn’t have a lot of respect for Limbo’s rules and can see clearly through the nice PR of her boss, Grimm.
So when a promotion lands on her desk she is surprised to say the least. But as she sees more behind the curtain she sees how fragile the while system is. And she might be the only one able to keep it running; but she’ll have to fight through the Afterlife Council’s byzantine politics to do it.
This book is immense fun – and the best part is it never ever forgets that. From start to finish it holds onto that no matter what conflicts arise, no matter what complexities rise in the plots not even when faced with dire problems and grief and even angst, the book remembers that it is fun and it never stops being fun and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
I read much of this book with a broad smile on my face – it hits that right balance of being ever-so-slightly silly (Athena runs a dress shop! Archangel Gabriel is an alcoholic party boy slacker they keep around because he has such great PR in the mortal world!) without ever letting the silly get in the way of the world actually working and being coherent, the characterisation being consistent or the plot actually working
It’s silly and fun – but let’s the silly and fun work with plot and characterisation not constantly get in the way of it or just decide that silly fun is all you need in a book and the rest can just manage without it. I like that, too many books that aim for zany only aim for zany
So we have a world with multiple afterlives and Lana and her fellow Reapers ferry souls to those afterlives. Which isn’t as simple as it sounds, Afterlives and gods have territory and power and political clout based on the number of souls that they have (causing many odd alliances and amalgamations) so there’s lots of pushes backroom deals and fudging of the rules between the various factions, with the Reapers squarely in the middle – and underneath it all. With no ability to quit but the threat of “termination” hanging over them and generally considered beneath everyone else, Lana has no illusions about where Reapers stand in the grand scheme of things – as semi-pampered slaves at best. And she’s not unwilling when it comes to a little rule fudging as well.