Death’s Daughter is the first novel in the Calliope Reaper-Jones Series by Amber Benson.
Calliope seems to be just a normal New York girl: she works as an assistant in a rather unexciting office, dreaming of a career in fashion. But then Javier the faun shows up at her office and confronts her with her past and her family. As the forgetting spell Calliope put herself under is lifted, she starts to remember that she’s not actually all that normal: her father is Death himself. But as Javier tells her, her father is also missing. So Callie has to return to take over the family business and save her dad.
Rarely have I hated a character as much as I hated Callie. And yet I somehow couldn’t bring myself to put the book down and not finish it and I’m even thinking about continuing the series.
Benson’s writing can be firmly put under the heading of trying too hard. She’s going for flippant, easy-going and funny but it ends up feeling just so terribly effortful. The most her jokes got from me were a tired smile and a “I see what you’re trying to do and that’s cute but stop it.” And the plot is so ridiculous and full of holes that it’s best not mentioned.
This narration plus the fact that I wanted to strangle Callie about 30 pages in, should have been enough to make me not want to read the book. I mean, Callie is every bad Sex and the City wanna-be-socialite cliché ever: she’s incredibly privileged but thinks she’s not, she waits for people to just hand her stuff, but thinks she’s working hard for them. She’s not exactly smart. She’s incredibly self-centered and has the emotional maturity of an immature toddler (“Your father has been kidnapped and if you don’t take over the company, you’re entire family will lose their home and their immortality.” “Do I have to? I really don’t wanna take over the business. You can’t make me.”). I was hoping that there would be enough character development so that she basically did a full 1-80, but while there was some, it was far from enough to make her actually likeable.
The plot holes also didn’t help with her sympathy points. You got one scene where Callie is all “And what if we don’t find my father or it takes a long time to find him, what could they possibly do to him, he’s immortal” and five pages later Callie actually reflects on how she never liked her immortality because surviving everything really isn’t such a good thing and there are things worse than death. And I just wanted to throw the book against the wall.
But I didn’t. I didn’t even close it gently, to never open it again. I actually finished it. If it had been a longer read, I probably wouldn’t have. But now that I did, I’m actually considering reading further in the series. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. I guess there’s just something about it that makes it work. Or maybe it’s like when you’re incredibly stuffed and you have like five fries left on your plate and you know that you shouldn’t eat them because there is no actual room in your stomach anymore. But it’s only five fries and to leave them would be kinda weird, so you’re trapped in this decision limbo. Forever.
[Maybe I thought too hard about this.]
Summarizing: I don’t know what it is about this book.