Title: Reaper’s Novice (Book 1 Soul Collector)
Author: Cecilia Robert
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: February 25, 2013 (Paperback); January 8, 2013 (Kindle)
17- year- old Ana Maria Tei’s life has always been perfect: loving parents, good grades, and a future so bright it outshone the sun. But now words like “separation” and “divorce” are sending her world plummeting to hell. Determined to keep her family intact, Ana plans a family-bonding trip from Vienna to Tuscany. Except fate has other plans. Ana’s parents and siblings are killed in a car accident on their way to pick Ana up from school.
Enter Grim, aka Ernest. He promises to relinquish the four souls if Ana agrees to trade her soul for theirs and serve a lifetime as his novice. In order for Ana to graduate from her Reaper’s Novice station to a Soul Collector graduate, Grim puts her to the test. To her horror, she finds out becoming a Reaper’s Novice didn’t happen by chance. It was preordained, and she is forced to make a choice: save her family’s souls or come to terms with who she really is and complete the task set for her.
This novel is super-intense. I started and finished it within 24 hours, and am still wishing that there was more in this first volume. Ana is a great main character, with hopes, dreams, and fears all bundled up inside her. I love her family, and her friends, and the new people she meets along the way. Zig is an odd person, and I didn’t expect to like him, but even though he occasionally puts his foot in his mouth, I really do like him. He makes a great friend for Ana, and from what just this first book brings, she needs one. As for certain other characters, like Ernest, I’m still deciding. For now, I am about 90% against him, but who knows what the rest of the story will bring?
The idea behind the plot was great. However, I think the writing still needs some improvement. There were times when I just felt really confused as to what was going on, how we got from here to there, which forced me to have to backtrack and reread. Even with this drawback, though, I was really captured by the storyline. I loved Reiner, Rolf, and Lea, and almost cried near the end of the book for what they all went through. But Ana and Rolf’s story really breaks my heart, as does Lea’s and Rein’s. I did think that there could have been a clearer backstory to their friendship, their memories. Some of the memories that Ana talks about or remembers are kind of haphazard, as though the author just wanted to get them down on the page but never went back to make it flow into the story.
I loved Ana, and the plot twist of what her actual purpose is, though. That intrigue and mystery is what kept me reading, scrolling through the pages, eager for any new scrap of information that she could find out. This is the real reason why I want to read the sequel, and why it had better come out soon! The ending totally left me hanging as to how Ana and Zig were going to continue, especially with the new character that was introduced, and I just NEED to know how this finishes! Oh, and the cover is beautiful. I like the alternate cover (not pictured here) as well. They both used pretty colors and great cover models for the shots they took. Plus, the mist effects drawn on are gorgeous. So, even though it was not the best book I’ve ever read, it was still pretty good, and I would definitely recommend it to any teenager who likes suspense and mystery fantasies. Can’t wait for the sequel!
**Note: Due to some profanity, I only recommend this book to ages 13 & older.