Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Croak by Gina Damico

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Review: Croak by Gina Damico
Croak
Gina Damico
Series: Croak #1
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Publication date: March 20th 2012
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's 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 shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

-This novel was listened to via audiobook-

Murders, Grim Reapers, Scythes! Oh my!

This was the perfect book to listen to on my way back from a 9 hour road trip. Its sarcastic protagonist, charismatic secondary characters, and entertaining plot made the drive feel like 30 minutes. Ok maybe a couple hours. But still.

Lex used to be a perfectly good student, except lately she’s been a bit of a delinquent. This is what gets her shipped to her uncle Mort’s place in a bizarre small town of population 80. This is also where she learns who, or what, she really is: a grim reaper. Grim reaper books have always been a favorite of mine and I loved what Gina did with this one, especially with the constant humorous tone. She’s created a whole reaper world with hierarchies and distinct reaper roles that I found so imaginative. There’s Killing, Culling, the Afterlife, the spiders *shudders*; each aspect of this world building is surprisingly intricate. Some of it is cheesy, I admit, – the presidents in the Afterlife bit especially – but it is amusing which, I believe, is the purpose of this book as a whole. In the midst of all the Killing, there is also someone (or something) murdering Reapers which adds a suspenseful mystery to the story. This part is more predictable than I was hoping, but it did work to put some emotional depth to the novel. When a character dies or gets targeted by this unknown killer, it stings a little! I also liked how Gina dealt with the topic of death; she doesn’t let the dark humor go too far.

The plot is entertaining, the pacing could have been a little faster for my taste, but what really stands out in this book are the characters we meet. Lex’s sarcastic, violent nature will have you chuckle and snort throughout. Though she’s also intelligent as well as thoughtful. She’s the anti-heroine we all love to root for! Uncle Mort will also be a fan favorite with his compelling personality coupled with a badass demeanor. Then Lex has a partner, Driggs; the two, mostly through bickering, develop a quirky relationship that I enjoyed seeing grow and evolve as the book progressed. There’s also a hint of romance, of course, and it’s as sweet as it is awkward – a perfect fit for this book! Really though, each and every citizen in this town adds their own dash of crazy to this story.

A note on the audiobook: the narrator imitated Lex flawlessly. Her voice was perfect for her character. However, I did find her inflections over the top at times. Like, she would sometimes end sentences in an exaggerating manner as you would when reading to a child.

Full of laughter and witty personalities, Croak is the perfect read to brighten a gloomy day!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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23 Responses to “Review: Croak by Gina Damico”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Oh yay! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this book as well, Giselle. I know how much Jenni liked it, so now I’m quite excited to get to it.
    I love books about grim reapers too and I’m glad to hear that the world building in this book is intricate and complex.
    I also already love the sound of the main character. Sarcastic and humorous are definitely qualities a good MC should possess. I think this is going to be a book I’m undoubtedly going to love as well.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  2. Savannah

    All of a sudden I’m seeing this book pop up everywhere! Seriously! It makes me feel left out. I’m going to have to read it. Thanks for the review.

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Yeah, a bit cheesy but in a really good, double-stuffed pizza kind of way. I haven’t read the other books in the series though I definitely enjoyed this one with Mort, the weird town and grim reapers!

  4. Faye @ The Social Potato

    I actually quite enjoy reading about grim reapers! I’ve seen some anime with this theme back in the days and they were fun to read. This sounds actually quite light-hearted. I’m definitely checking this out. Thank you so much for the review!

  5. Molli

    Now I want to listen to this on audiobook to hear the narrator! I was like you, Giselle – I LOVED the characters and how vivid they were.

  6. Vivian

    OH! Sarcastic & violent, I like that. Lol. I would’ve initially not given this a second thought bc the cover isn’t all that great, haha, but after reading your review I might have to give it a try. I need a book w/humor and wit! Great review!

  7. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    Yay!! I loved the audiobook of this too. I just realized that I never actually reviewed it though lol!! I knew I meant to, I just never got to it. That happens a lot with “me books” that I read or listen to. Great review hon.

  8. Charlotte

    OMG! I am not really sure if I would like to read this one, Giselle. Grim Reapers just give me the creeps. Just thinking about them makes me…I don’t want to mention it.

  9. Aman

    Oh, I haven’t heard of this one and it’s been out for more than a year. I love reapers book, for some reason they are always so funny. I’ll definitely check this one out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    Sometimes I just need those books that can entertain me, even if nothing more. This sounds like a lot of fun! Sarcastic, witty protagonists are some of my favourite kinds. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Giselle! Lovely review.

  11. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Yay I’m so happy you really enjoyed this one. I agree, the humor was so refreshing and perfect for the story and I think I loved Lex as a narrator the most because her inner dialogue was just as hilarious as the things that came out of her mouth, and the world-building was also really great and intricate 🙂

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  12. Sharon - Obsession with Books

    The MC sounds wonderful and I love reading about Grim reapers so I’ll have to give this a go, it sounds like an entertaining read.

    A great review! 🙂