Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Grave Intentions by Lori Sjoberg

I wasn’t sure what to expect with a book about a grim reaper, but I enjoyed Grave Intentions quite a bit.

David has been a reaper for 60 years, trying to work off his sins to avoid eternal damnation. The book explains the process of how and why reapers are chosen – at least the way David understands it. Not entirely sure he knows the whole story. I felt some of the rules to be a bit extreme. Maybe I just don’t like the idea of a higher power being so hard and fast with his rules and unyielding with punishment. This is why I think there must be more to the process than what David has been told.

I liked the way being a reaper was viewed as simply David’s job. Other than the ability to heal quickly and a bit of mind persuasion – to help with difficult reaping situations – he doesn’t have any superhuman abilities. He’s just a guy with a tough job who likes to have a few drinks at the end of the day.

Like anyone who has a job he hates, he’s learned some coping methods, his current being to simply not care, remain numb. However, meeting his neighbor challenges these coping methods. He finds himself drawn to her, but he’s afraid to get involved. It’s been so long since he’s felt anything and he knows that if he allows himself to feel pleasure, he’ll have to be prepared for the pain as well.

Sarah’s a research scientist who loves her work, but hates her boss and could do without the crowds of protestors that greet her at her lab every morning. She’s also emotionally struggling to care for her elderly grandmother, who is always getting in trouble at the nursing home for her disruptive behavior. Sarah needs a break from all the stress.

David and Sarah both are at a point in their lives where they could use a friend. I enjoyed the gradual buildup of their relationship. They actually got to know each other and really like each before they ended up in bed together. I liked the way they took care of each other and seemed to absolutely adore each other. They were grateful for each other’s company and companionship. I like to believe that this is how a romance is supposed to work. Neither was in a position of power over the other. They’re two adults, getting by the best they can in their circumstances that are glad to have found each other.

But the book would probably be boring if there wasn’t a twist of some sort. I’m not going to give away what happens, but things get intense and I found myself on the verge of tears for a while there. I might have also been mentally screaming, “that’s not fair, they were so happy” because I felt that close to these characters and my heart was breaking along with theirs.

This is a well-written, enjoyable story with strong, likable characters and plenty of romance, and paranormal elements blended into reality so carefully, it almost seems believable. (Almost. Don’t worry, I don’t really think there are grim reapers disguised as humans walking among us.) I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley.

No comments: