Book Review: A Breach in Death by Matt Thomas

15960124Title: A Breach in Death

Author: Matt Thomas

Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Suspense

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Arc is a new Grim Reaper, and his first day on the job doesn’t go according to plan. The transition should’ve been a smooth one, more or less, as it’s a process that’s repeated itself time after time for eons. Arc died. He still had a debt to pay and this was to be his penance. Soon though, Arc and his fellow reaper Lucy, a guide on his journey into the underworld, learn that something or someone has upset the balance between life and death in a way that threatens us all.

A Breach in Death was an imaginative, thought-provoking story. As a downside, sometimes the characters acted a little out of character, some things weren’t explained well enough, and the narrative dragged a little at the start. The novel definitely had good and bad parts, and I’ll go into more detail about that later. First, the story.

After he dies, Arc turns into a Grim Reaper. He doesn’t know why, and no one seems keen on telling him either. His mentor, Lucy, has to guide him through the perils of the job, but unfortunately, his first day doesn’t go as planned at all. A reaper Lucy used to know, even used to be close with, wants to overthrow the balance between life and death. He’s tired of being a reaper, and of finding no way to pass on to the afterlife, so he chooses to disrupt the balance in order to come alive again. It’s up to Lucy and Arc to stop him, but with Arc not knowing the full extend of his new Reaper powers, and the entire Reaper city in great peril, it’ll be one hell of a task.

I liked Arc. He didn’t panic when he found out he was a Reaper, and for a newbie, he handled himself rather well. He was courageous, even if he often thought he wasn’t, intelligent, witty and all in all, admirable. Lucy however, not as much so, but it wasn’t a bad thing. I don’t need to like all the characters to like a book, and I actually liked not really liking Lucy. She definitely had personality, even if it was a personality I didn’t find all that likeable. She could be quite tough and angry toward Arc, even when it was unnecessary, and she acted a little stuck up every now and then. I didn’t get how the two of them came friends so quickly – all in about a day’s time – especially since she didn’t have the easiest personality. She kind of grew on me though, and toward the end, I actually liked her.

The plot was amazing. From the Reapers, to the city, to the disrupting of the balance between life and death, everything was sparkling with imagination, creativity and originality. The world-building was great, and it wasn’t overly complicated either. I quickly grasped the rules of Arc’s world, and the settings were described well. The world after death, the Reaper’s world, really came to life from the pages.

Now on to the not-so-good stuff. Arc and Lucy acted really out of character at some point. They tumbled from acquintances who’d just met to friends to perhaps even more, all without real cause, and all in an extremely short amount of time. I’d rather wish they kept it at friends and that’s that. Or maybe that Arc wasn’t new, and he’d been a Reaper for some time, and would’ve known her for some time as well. Then there was the lack of explanation as to why certain things happened, like why certain Reapers died and others didn’t. Everything after the attack on the city felt a little confusing, like it happened too fast to really grasp.

And while the narrative dragged a little at the start, it picked up after the attack to an almost relentless pace. I had to reread some paragraphs to understand what was going on, and even then, I was lost sometimes because too much seemed to happen at once, and without proper explanation.

All in all, I liked this story. The author has a great writing style, good world-building skills, and refreshing ideas. While the story had some lesser points, it did impress me enough to consider reading more by this author, and to recommend the book to fans of the genre.

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