by Amber Benson
Edited by Ginjer Buchanan
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441016945
Date: 03 March 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Calliope (Callie) Reaper Jones is living in New York City in a small apartment and working as an assistant to the Vice President of Sales at House and Yard, Inc. It was a crappy job but she hoped to get an in to the fashion industry, where she really wanted to be, working via her boss; but then the worst thing that could happen happened--her boss liked her. Life seemed doomed to a cycle of work, work, and more work when the strange started happening. By strange, I mean a part-dragon monster thing was in the lobby of her apartment building, a homeless person she'd never seen before knew her name, and her father's assistant Jarvis (who, by the way, is a faun) showed up at her office to tell her that her father and all the top executives had been kidnapped and she needed to come home.
Callie had moved away from home after casting a forget spell on herself because she didn't want to get involved in the family business. She wanted to be normal, an every day person who worked in New York at a fashion house or fashion magazine. She wanted normal, and forgetting the whole family death thing seemed the way to go. Now with the spell broken, she was heading home and right into all the weirdness she'd been trying to forget.
That's the set up for Amber Benson Death's Daughter, the first book of the Calliope Reaper Jones series. Callie is an interesting character and the entire story is told from her point of view. Callie is pretty much a typical young woman trying to find her place in the world -- in other words a big bundle of contradictions. She also has the added problem of being one of Death's children.
Arriving home, Callie finds that she's her father's heir and expected to take over his job. And her family wants her to find him and the company executives. But to take over her father's role she must first pass some tests and she has to succeed because the Devil's Apprentice has been slotted to take over if Callie fails. As if that wasn't bad enough, considering Callie didn't want to be involved in the family business, she's accused of the kidnapping. Now it's a race for Callie to stay out of the reach of the otherworldly cops, find her father, pass the tests, and give dad back his job.
Benson has a great touch in making Callie not only seem real but in getting you to like her, even when she's being a whiny brat. Since the story is told from Callie's point of view you get to hear her thoughts, wishes, dreams, and plans. Many of her fears were familiar and so, for me, Callie rang true. I laughed. I cried. And, I enjoyed the story immensely.
There's just the right mix of the real, the surreal, and the absurd to keep you turning the pages and, once the story ends, hoping that it's not too long before we get to share another adventure with Calliope Reaper Jones.