Saturday, May 26, 2012

Croak by Gina Damico

by Gina Damico
Series : Croak #1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication: March 20,2012
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository 

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business. Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer. Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in? (synopsis from Goodreads)

Croak is the first novel in a new series by debut author Gina Damico. I was immediately drawn to the cover of Croak. I love tales involving reapers and knew I had to read this. Damico offers us a fresh urban fantasy filled with mystery, suspense and a secret society of reapers. This novel is hilarious, perfectly paced, and highly entertaining. 

The tale begins with sixteen year old Lex Bartleby in the principal’s office. She is there, yet again for sucker-punching a classmate. Her parents are exasperated but manage to persuade the school from suspending her. Lex was a straight A student, but recently has been having violent outbursts, stealing and has been cursing up a blue streak. Her parents and sister don’t understand why she is so angry and quite frankly they seem terrified of her. When they get home, they inform her she will be spending the summer on her Uncle Mort’s farm. The next day they force her on a bus and seemed relieved. When she meets her Uncle Mort, Lex is ready to turn tail and run. He is riding a motorcycle, has tattoos and purple streaks in his hair. Lex is about to learn that the town of Croak is filled with reapers and that she is a reaper. The tale that unfolds is magical, fresh, funny and unique. I consumed this as Damico quickly swept me away to the town of Croak and its inhabitants.

The characters in Croak are all unique and certainly fall under the category of misfits. With the exception of Lex, all the reapers in training were essentially abused or abandoned by their parents, so you can imagine the personalities. Lex is feisty, extremely sarcastic and has a chip on her shoulder a mile wide. I didn’t love her, but she grew on me. Despite her attitude, she is good at reaping, and at her core is a good person. Uncle Mort is a giant kid, with huge responsibilities and I liked him. Driggs is Lex’s partner and he was both irresistible and irritating. Together they make the perfect team and you cannot help but fall in love with this duo. There is a romance here, and an implied love scene. The other characters offer us many different personalities from the geek to the jealous overachiever. All of them, and Damico’s light approach made for some funny moments.

The world-building was unique and I love the little town of Croak. Damico does an excellent job of explaining the reaper town and similar towns scattered across the world. Her imagination in how reapers teleport and find those who have just died was impressive. Her use of technology and animals was unlike anything I have ever read. I loved the transportation system for souls and laughed at what occurred when the souls arrived. Damico writing is well paced and the plot progressed well. The added mystery, murders and suspense kept me highly entertained as I tried to determine who was responsible. While the mystery was solved, this tale is far from over and I look forward to the next installment.

I highly recommend Croak to fans of light, funny urban fantasy. If you are a reaper fan like me, this book is definitely for you. I have added this author to my watch list and will pre-order Scorch, book two in the Croak series, which will be published September 25, 2012.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Gina Damico

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At May 26, 2012 at 4:22 AM , Blogger Michelle Chew said...

Your review made me want to grab the book immediately! So tempting! It does sound like a good read. Thanks for sharing!


At May 26, 2012 at 5:53 AM , Blogger Brodie said...

The second review I've read for this singing it's praises and I am HOOKED! Reapers! I think I've only read one YA book featuring reapers and I want MOOOORE. Croak sounds like such a fun, creative book and I'm glad to hear that even though you didn't necessarily love Lex, she still grew on you. Mmm and I'm most intrigued by this Driggs guy :D

Definitetly need to check this out. Fantastic review!

At May 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I love books about reapers (the only YA one I can think that I've read that has one in it is Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series) and I wondered about this one. I'm glad to hear it's not scary/dark - I'm on board for a lighter version, definitely.

LOVE your review!

At May 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I really enjoyed this too, Kimba! I have such a soft spot for reapers. I must agree with you, the characters were fantastic and definitely my favorite part. Croak reminded me a little bit of Eureka, which is one of my favorite TV series. :)
Lovely review, I can't wait for book 2.

At May 26, 2012 at 6:07 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I LOVE reaper books! Thanks so much for the review; I think I'm going to add this one to my wish list.

At May 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Kristin @ Addicted to HEA said...

Great review! I'm glad you read and liked this... I thought I would like it but I wasn't sure. You just closed the deal!!! I love the sound of this motley crew and we need more fun reads out there!!

Yep, I love reapers, too...

At May 27, 2012 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

I've never read a book about reapers before but this one looks really good! Great review :)

At May 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM , Blogger Liliana said...

You like reapers too??? Oh good...I thought I was just being morbid! LOL
This book was amazing!

At May 27, 2012 at 9:00 PM , Blogger The Literary Darling said...

oh I love this cover! I am putting this in my TBR pile! Thanks for the review and bringing it to my attention! :)

At May 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It really is a fun read, though after reading about Driggs all I wanted to do was snack. I really want to read the second one when it comes out.


At May 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM , Blogger Bellas Shelf said...

I cant wait to read my copy of Croak! I have always been interested in reapers. I wanna put down what I am reading now and read this..lolz..
I get in trouble going to diff blogs because I want to read the books I see on their blogs right away..
Gr8 review, hope u had a beautiful weekend :)

At May 29, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Anonymous April @ My Shelf Confessions said...

Glad you loved it too! I think you loved a lot of the same things as I did :D I can't wait for the next book and to learn more about Croak - and the rest of the reaper towns! I loved Uncle Mort too, and I thought the action in the atrium or entry to the "other side" was hilarious, all the characters there :D

Great review! You hit on all the awesome points. This book was definitely way better than I expected - and being a reaper fan I expected to enjoy it - but the world-building and details were phenomenal.

I think the only thing I disagree with you SLIGHTLY was that I loved Lex from the getgo LOL I have a thing for snarky, sarcastic characters though :D

I think Scorch may be one of the rare books I actually pre-order to show up on my nook as SOON as it comes out :D

At May 30, 2012 at 7:36 AM , Blogger Christina said...

SML for this book! I'm glad you liked it!


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