Thursday, 10 October 2013

Brianna Reviews - First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Published: 1st Feb 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

11357769 I stumbled across this book mostly by accident and it's name was what caught my attention and after reading the blurb I had decided that it was something I had to read. After a shaky start I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I say a shaky start but what i really mean is the first 18 pages and that after the first 18 pages I couldn't put it down - that will teach me to judge a book on it's first 18 pages!
So Charley Davidson is a grim reaper. There isn't really a more subtle way to put it and I doubt that Charley would want anyone to dance around the subject, she is pretty straight talking. I mean she does avoid the subject sometimes but that's just because it makes things a little easier when people think you are sane. So as a grim reaper she helps ghosts to pass on from there ghostly plane (to heaven I presume). She passes messages on to their loved ones and helps her uncle to solve murders (being able to ask the victim who killed them helps). In First Grave on the Right, Charley is helping 3 lawyers (who are dead) and her uncle to find out who killed them. She also has a ghostly apparition appearing in her dreams. As Charley is starting to investigate the case the ghostly apparition starts to appear outside of her dreams at which point she realises that she has seen him before and understandably sets out to hunt him down - but she finds that he is not what she expected.

There were aspects of this book that bugged me a bit. Jones kept repeating things that I didn't think were necessary to repeat more than once and even repeated some thing that just didn't make sense until later on and to me, I think I would have preferred the explanation the first time it was mentioned as I see no reason why it wasn't; Example - Charley can remember everything since the moment she was born, I repeat she remembers her own BIRTH!!! I think that kind of thing warrants an explanation the first time it's mentioned not like the 5th... cause I was just starting to think Jones was crazy. Another issue was that she went into a little too much detail in places where I don't think it was needed - we know Charley got up, showered, dressed and ate breakfast we don't really need every detail - so some bits of the book just moved very slowly without anything much happening.

I think I liked Charley, well for most of the time. Sometimes I didn't like her as at times she was just be a little too cocky and had a little too much attitude. There were definitely times during the book where I would have just told Charley to shut up and try to act like an adult instead of a spoilt kid. But for the most part I kind of liked her. I also like her friend/neighbour (I think her name was Cookie) but I found it hard to really like her because there didn't seem like there was much to her. Reyes I liked, despite the obvious reasons why I perhaps shouldn't (what he said the night she first met him, for example) but I suppose we could probably let him off on that - considering who he is, whats a little threat compared to that (I should probably add that I am joking when I say 'little' and I do not take the issue lightly). I have seen reviews that have attacked Jones for belittling the issue which I think is unfair - this is fiction and Charley is a character, what she chooses to ignore is not necessarily Jones's opinion on the subject. (Okay I think that's my little disclaimer/rant out of the way). So yeah I definitely like Reyes and I'm interested to see what happens with him in the next book. Unfortunately apart from the 3 characters I've just mentioned I don't really have much of an opinion on the others. I don't know if this is because I just don't care, or just don't like/dislike them enough for me to remember them or whether the characters have just been written in such a way that they don't stand out.

I think the plot/story line of First Grave on the Right is somewhat new and original, at least to me. It's definitely a new take of grim reapers (or one I haven't heard before) and I am definitely looking forward to where the series goes next, just as soon as I buy the next book (Second Grave on the Left). If I had the next one when I had finished this I would have gone straight into reading it, I am definitely not done with Reyes yet.

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