Monday, August 06, 2012

Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Series: Croak #1
Publisher: Graphia/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: May 20, 201
ISBN: 9780547822563
Format: paperback
Genre: YA, mystery, urban fantasy
Source: borrowed from library

Rating: 7.5/10


Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's 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 shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business. She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice--or is it vengeance?--whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?



Croak is a great debut, hands down. It was hilarious, it was dark, and put a new spin onto one of the less-looked upon people of the supernatural sort. Although it was a bit tricky to get a hang of the story (Lex acted a bit juvenile), it is still an amazing weave of a story. Completely unreal, and something you’d love to take part in.

Firstly, the grim reaper thing. Gina Damico’s entire idea of reapers is completely originals. Usage of the Smacks, scything, Etceteras, and Killers and Cullers were something brand new. It’s SO COOL to have a town just for Grims and built around their occupation.

Then comes the characters. Lex, the representation of teenage emotions. She might be just a bit too hard-headed for her own good, but I find it hilarious. Her roof scene with Driggs after the pizza made me laugh so hard. And there’s Driggs, victim to teen angst, taking his issues out on his drumset. And he cries himself to sleep in the presence of countless black widow spiders. Creepy, but that takes guts. Another cool thing about him? His eyes are two different colours, brown and blue. So that makes him not only one among the people with possibly the most epic job, but also a genetic anomaly. Y’know how there’s always this one guy and girl at school constantly arguing/competing against each other and all you want to say is “Invite me to the wedding, alright?” Yep. Here’s a quote from Croak depicting just that.

“Driggs and Lex dug into their pockets and took out their scythes. And since Croak was no different from any other culture – and therefore contained its own equivalent of a pissing contest – the two partners immediately sized up each other’s scythes as they tore them through the air.

“Sapphire,” Drigs said, waving a gleaming blue weapon.

“Obsidian.”

Uncle Mort smirked. “Adorable.”

The two rolled their eyes in unison, then disappeared into the ether.”

See what I’m getting at? Yeeup. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. You just know what’s going to happen to those two.

Oh, and let’s not forget the crazy Uncle Mort. He’s psychotic, absolutely psychotic. Uncle Mort’s that super cool uncle that a lot of people have, and whenever he’s over, you’d be like Oh, Uncle Mort’s here! What are we doing today? Hang-gliding? Bungee jumping? Swimming with Great Whites? I’m sure he told us last time, but I think my brain’s still fried from testing that BMX track. And Lex and Driggs’ dysfunctual group of friends, including that unbelievably bubbly chick, the mildly awkward nice jerk (an oxymoron right there), and the couple attached at the hip.

One thing I’m quite disappointed by is Lex’s internal conflict between joining the Crasher and staying with the Grims. It didn’t feel right, more like a weak diagnosis from someone else. But overall, I find Croak as a great read that you should definitely check out.


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