Welcome to my stop on the tour for Melissa Brown's Becoming Death! Scroll down for my thoughts and a fantastic UK only giveaway.
Becoming Death - Melissa Brown
ISBN - 9781511797047
Release date - June 12 2015
Ever since her father's demise, Madison Clark knew death had her number. After losing her first job, she is ushered into the cryptic family business. Little does she know her family is hiding a dark secret; they are grim reapers, custodians of souls on their journey to the beyond. Madison expects her historic legacy to have benefits beyond immortality. What she doesn't expect is to still be struggling for cash while reaping souls on the side.
As if being Death's minion wasn't strenuous enough, Madison finds herself back at school with her worst enemy studying the ancient rules, methods and paperwork of her vocation. In a cascade of life changes: her best friend admits he’s in love with her and she starts a new job as a professional mourner, but she can’t help thinking her family might have other secrets.
Just when things are finally starting to feel normal again Death throws her a curveball: her next victim is her best friend. Madison must find a way to overcome the strict guidelines of being a grim reaper in order to save his life.
I love reading stories about Grim Reapers, probably thanks to my love of Death from the Discworld novels, so was intrigued to read Becoming Death by Melissa Brown. It tells the story of Madison, adapting to life after high school, living with her best friend and coping with her somewhat distant family. Growing up without her father and struggling to fit in with her seemingly perfect older sister and mother Madison has always known there's something different about her. After losing her job (thanks to a frozen boss) she finds a strange wooden trunk hidden in her mother's sofa. From then on, nothing is the same as she discovers that she is now the latest in the long family line of Grim Reapers.
Becoming Death is a short but sweet modern take on the Grim Reaper tale. Madison is trying her best to find her place in the world and to find love, crushing on her best friend's older brother and not realizing that true love might be in the bedroom next door. I loved the modern touches on reaping, using the Dead Head app to get your next victim and going to school to learn the ins & outs of your new profession. The use of touch and imagining the way your victims die was also a unique twist although I'm not sure Madison really got to grips with this given some of the way some of the deaths came about.
One of the best things was the relationship between Madison, her sister Clarissa, her mother and grandmother. Pre-reaping Madison felt like the odd one out, constantly bested by her sister and ignored by her mother but it was great to see them all pulling together eventually and their bonds strengthening. The one thing I wasn't sure about was the relationship between Madison and Aaron as it all felt a little rushed, especially considering how long they've known each other. It was however a sweet romance but thankfully not the main focus of the story.
The story wrapped up nicely by the end of the book but it left me wanting more. I'd love to know more about Madison's adventures in reaping and how her relationship with both her family and Aaron develops over time, maybe a second book is needed? If you're looking for a paranormal read that is light and easy with a side order of gruesome you can't really go wrong with Becoming Death.
Melissa Brown is an American author who lives in Norwich, England. She is a teacher in ICT skills, English and creative writing. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the IdeasTap Inspires: Writers' Centre Norwich Writing Competition and longlisted for the Nottingham Writers' Club's inaugural National Short Story Competition. She was also a featured poet at the Norwich: City of Stories launch event, where she did a live reading of her poem 'The Library.' She enjoys films, books, comics, fangirling and subscription boxes. She blames her love of the written word on her hometown library and fanfiction. She lives with her partner, Kris, and her awesome cat, Hailey.
Open to UK residents only
Prizes - 5 necklaces inspired by Becoming Death
2 copies of Becoming Death
Monday 17th August
Tuesday 18th August
Wednesday 19th August
Thursday 20th August
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Monday 24th August