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Don't Fear the Reaper (Netherworld, #1) by…
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Don't Fear the Reaper (Netherworld, #1)

by Michelle Muto

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(There's only one way for me to read this title and that's by singing the song by Blue Oyster Cult.)

This is a story about what happens when we die.

The fact that there are so many things created about this subject only tell us how important it is for people to imagine the life after this one. The most important work on this subject was written many centuries ago and it's The Epic of Gilgamesh .

Keely's story starts the night she kills herself. There's no explanation for what she does in the beginning, only later you find out about a big tragedy in her life. After she dies she wakes up in the company of some strange people, telling her she's going to hell. Only then we start to discover how the other life works, what is allowed for those who exist in it and what can never be.

There is something very traditional in the way writers describe the afterlife and it's probably the Christian influence, mixed with all the media created on the subject. This is why it was really important what this book brings to the table - the story about a specific set of rules that exist in the other world, keeping order. There is a need to keep some connection to the world of living and it must be under control.

We all dream of loved ones after they die. And when we die, we dream of the living.

The narrator is a teenage girl who is deeply troubled. The result is a dark humor that somehow exist in every conversation she has. At times her thoughts may seem really shallow and somehow irritating but she is...a girl who had a life tough enough to decide to kill herself. The writing is the strongest in the dialogues when she argues her way in the afterlife, discovering about the death as much as she discovers about life.

There are a lot of triggering subjects in this book, the most important being suicide, pedophilia and child murder. What starts as the book about angels, demons and reapers is actually a deeply saddening story about the life of a girl in a modern world where everything is out in the open but everything is different than it seems too.

In the beginning you may have a clear idea of where Keely belongs, heaven or hell, everything she does may contribute to that, but the more you find out the more you get to like and understand her. In the end you're faced with many questions about belonging - where is our place in the end? Who gets to decide what we deserve?

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I received this book on NetGalley and I gave it my honest review. Thanks for sharing! ( )
  anukrose | Nov 2, 2016 |
In One Word ~ Stunning

I have been trying to start this review for an hour. I have typed and erased my opening at least ten times now. I just don't think I can explain what this book did to me. I don't know what I expected from Don't Fear the Reaper. I do know that I was really excited when author Michelle Muto sent me the book. I had read another of her books, The Book of Lost Souls, and adored it. So I went into reading this one with no trepidation, an awesome feeling.

I knew I was in for an emotional journey within the first few lines of Don't Fear the Reaper. The main character, Keely, emotionally devastated after the murder of her twin, commits suicide while in the midst of desperate grief. After months of torture, praying for a sign that her sister is safe on the other side, a sign that never comes, Keely just wants peace. She wants to be reunited with Jordan. At first, Keely doesn't realize her attempt was successful. And she's relieved. But then she is greeted not by Jordan, but by Banning and Daniel, a Reaper and a Demon. Keely learns that to decide her fate, she must pass a "test" with guidance from Banning and Daniel, all while searching for her sister.

I found Don't Fear the Reaper to be one of the most unique books I have ever read. To be honest, I haven't read much involving suicide and certainly nothing from the perspective of a "successful" suicide. I have to give the author kudos on the first chapter. It is dark and overwhelming. I re-read it a few minutes ago, just to be sure that my feelings were accurate. It literally took my breath away again. I know I said it is dark and overwhelming, but it is also, and I know this may sound weird, peaceful and delicate. She handled it with respect, without judgment towards Keely.

That respect towards Keely is what makes Don't Fear the Reaper so unique. Although Keely regrets the inevitable pain her parents will endure, and hates that she has done this to them, I never felt anger or judgment towards her. Muto gave such a detailed background and relayed Keely's anguish so well, that you understand why she felt she had no other choice. I just wanted to hold her hand and take the painful journey with her.

But Keely does have someone to take the journey with her, Banning and Daniel. As a Reaper and Demon, they should be used to this routine. But something about Keely makes them throw everything they should do out the window and put their eternal fates on the line to help her. As much as I loved Keely, I think I loved Banning and Daniel equally. They also have tragic pasts that drew and attached me to them.

Don't Fear the Reaper is a story about the love of two sisters. Love that would cause each one to make radical, ultimate sacrifices if it meant the slightest chance at peace for the other. It is about taking chances. In the case of Banning and Daniel, it's taking a chance on someone who may not seem likely to succeed, but who is worthy of the risk. It is about letting go.

I feel truly honored that Michelle Muto asked me to read Don't Fear the Reaper. This book was a privilege to read. And I look forward to reading it again in the future. This book will haunt me for a long, long time.

Favorite Quotes:

"The mystery that was Banning reminded me of an old book tucked into the farthest crevices of a library shelf; dusty and forgotten, his painful memories cast in ink and meant for no one else to see,but committed to fragile paper nonetheless."

"I'd lost sight of heaven, God, and everything good, but not
Jordan. Some things transcended both life and death. Some things
never died."

*I received a copy of Don't Fear the Reaper from the author, in exchange for an honest review.* ( )
  Andreat78 | Oct 29, 2011 |
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