As far as one of a kind, completely original books go, Reaper is probably one of top ones that I have read over the years. It was unexpected, and not at all like how I thought it was going to be. The book was captivating and gripping, and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. In fact, I read it over the course of a single afternoon.
Rosie Wolf always thought that when you die, you go right to a wonderful Paradise like setting where you get to be reunited with your loved ones and spend eternity relaxing and enjoying and reflecting about your time on Earth.
However, when Rosie is killed in an accident, Rosie finds out that Paradise might not be what she was expecting it to be.
Waking up in a hospital room that looks strange compared to other hospitals that she’s been in, Rosie is met by a few women who are rude to her and speak to her about confusing things that she doesn’t understand. However, Rosie is then sent to the office of another woman, who tells Rosie that she is, in fact, dead, and that in order to move on, she has to go back to Earth and collect three souls as a Reaper. If she doesn’t, she will be stuck in this awful hospital-like place for eternity.
Rosie decides that she will do it – but instead of going back as an animal or a bird like the others who come through, Rosie wanted to go back as herself. With a few minor changes, such as skin and hair color, Rosie finds herself prepared and ready to go, back down to Earth, where she will begin collecting the three souls she needs to collect in order to move on to Paradise.
When she is sent back to Earth, she is given instructions for getting to a woman named Martha, who takes in Reapers and helps them collect the souls they are assigned. When she attempts to find Martha, she has a run in with two boys, and she realizes that she might like one of them – Kyle – leading her to already break a rule that could do some serious damage.
“‘The consequences for breaking the rules can be very dangerous. Not only for the living, but for the dead, as well.'”
Rosie learns this the hard way, and she finds herself getting closer and closer to Kyle and his family, who happens to live right by Martha. During this time, Martha is helping Rosie to collect her souls – the first one is an old man, and while Rosie finds it somewhat difficult, it seems that he has figured out who Rosie is and is ready to go anyway, because he misses his daughter, who had died years before. When Rosie collects her first soul, she and Martha have a few days before she is contacted with information about the second soul, which is infinitely harder, as the situation that person is in is similar to one that she had dealt with when she was alive.
As time goes on and Rosie tries to collect the three souls as quickly as possible without messing up, she can’t help but wonder about her mother, and what has become of her. She also finds herself getting more and more involved with Kyle, much to Martha’s dismay.
The chapters in Reaper are pretty short, and there are a lot of them – some of them going back into the past from before the accident that took Rosie’s life, and some of them taking place in the present. The author did this in such a way that we get a glimpse of Rosie’s past, when she was alive, followed by a small amount of time in the present, when she is a Reaper. The story unfolds slowly, and we get a glimpse of what Rosie is dealing with in the before and in the after, giving us a deep appreciation of her as a character.
I like how there are moments before, leading up to the accident, and after the accident all sprinkled throughout the book almost randomly, so that in order to get the entire picture, the reader feels as though they must keep reading to put all of the pieces together. It’s an interesting way to write a book, and I thought it was interesting. I liked how we got to view Rosie’s life in both the before and after.
“Every time I look at myself in the mirror I’m surprised. One thing I will never miss is the acne. Being dead has some perks.”
Rosie’s attitude made her feel real, too – she had an air of humor around her and she was a great narrator for the most part. There were moments that I couldn’t help but laugh at things she would say, and also times where I felt like I could almost feel the grief that she was going through, and it was heartbreaking.
I can’t say that I really cared for the insta-love that seemed to pop up between Rosie and Kyle, though, but I’m never really a fan of insta-love so I was expecting not to like this part of the book. I felt like, with how short the book was, we didn’t really get to know Kyle and he didn’t have time to really develop a personality like Rosie and Martha did. It was a bit of a bummer. I think the story could have been a bit longer, with some extra things added in especially about Kyle’s life.
The ending of the book was something I was pretty surprised by, honestly, and while I won’t say much about it for fear of spoiling it for others, I have to say that I didn’t like it at all. I had hoped it would end a bit different, and although I think it was supposed to be a bittersweet ending, it just kind of left me feeling depressed.
Overall, aside from the ending and the lack of personality with Kyle, I really found myself enjoying this book. It was a lot different than I had expected, and it was actually a pretty fun read. It’s something that I would definitely read again, and if you’re looking for something different from than what you usually read, I highly recommend picking this one up and giving it a go.