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Book Thoughts: Reaper

Title: Reaper

Author: Rachel Vincent

Publisher: Harlequin TEEN

Pages: 55

Release date: December 1, 2010

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Goodreads description:

Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him–and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.

Suddenly Tod’s future wasn’t so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life… Death… or something Between….

An ebook exclusive Soul Screamers series novella.

My thoughts on Reaper are based on a re-read of this second novella in the Soul Screamers series. I first read and reviewed Reaper on November 22, 2010 and while I’ve read it a couple of times since then, this is the first time since I reviewed it that I’ve looked at it with a critical eye instead of simply reading it for pleasure.

I originally gave Reaper a four star “loved it” rating. However, now that I’ve gotten to appreciate all that is Tod, which includes not only his sarcasm, but his loyalty, heroism and bravery, and have discovered all those little details that I missed on first read that connect this novella to the series, I would give it a five star “amazing” rating.

Aside from being a quick and entertaining read, which it was, there was much more to this short story than what I took away from it during my initial read. Whether it was due to the fact that on that first read I was so distracted by the heartbreak that was Nash Hudson, or simply because at that time I wasn’t as appreciative of novellas as I am now, I didn’t notice just how detailed and clever this story was.

I didn’t make the connection that both Kaylee and Nash existed on borrowed lives. I didn’t recall that the reanimation process was discussed. I didn’t remember how difficult it was for Tod to master his corporeality. And I didn’t notice that Kaylee’s mom made a similar sacrifice as Tod had and could just as easily have become a reaper… or wonder if maybe she did.

I didn’t question what it might mean that Kaylee could see Tod when he wasn’t corporeal the first time they “met.” I didn’t wonder if there would ever be any repercussions down the road for what Tod did to the drunk driver that hit his car and ultimately caused him to become a reaper. And I definitely didn’t realize that Tod died right before a birthday just like another character in the series.

I didn’t realize all these details would or could mean something later in the series. Had I known, I would have committed this entire novella to heart, and not just Tod’s witty and incredibly sarcastic lines.

Rachel Vincent wove all of these details into this short but captivating read. But that wasn’t all she did. She gave readers insight into who Tod was before he became a reaper, just how he became a reaper, and just what kind of person he was after his sacrifice, and she really let us get to know him in a way that we never would have been able to within the framework of the series up through My Soul to Steal.

Reaper is the first time we get to see the story from Tod’s point of view, which sets the stage for just how important a character he is to become later in the series. And by writing this story from his perspective, we are able to see parts of the Soul Screamers world that Kaylee never would have had knowledge of and I absolutely love, love, love that the author opened up her world in this way.

From the umpteen sarcastic lines that Tod delivered in this novella – of which I think there are at least ten I call favorites – to the cruel and clever irony that the author infused in this story during Tod’s last few hours alive, Reaper is a fun and a little bit heartbreaking short peek at Tod’s life and afterlife and a story that definitely raises a few questions as to what the future holds for this somewhat immortal reaper.

And while I could probably go on and on about just how amazing I think Tod is, his awesomeness wasn’t completely revealed by this story. Some of that did come later. But I can say with absolute certainty that after four reads, Reaper is my favorite novella in this series and one of  my top five novellas of all time.

***

There are way too many favorite quotes of Tod’s for me to choose just one. So I chose instead a scene between Genna and Tod in which the irony of the conversation was not lost on me…

“…But if I’m late, my mom will jump to all the right conclusions, and then my dad will kill you. Seriously. And what am I gonna do with a dead boyfriend?”

“Nothing that doesn’t defy the norms of polite society…” I mumbled, disappointed when she stepped back and turned toward the door.

If Nash isn’t dead of alcohol poisoning by the time I get there, I’ll kill him myself…

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