Review: Managing Death

Reviewed by Jen

Steven de Selby was a charming, geeky slacker in life –and it seems Death hasn’t changed him much. Steven isn’t dead… He IS Death, or at least part of a greater whole that comprises Death.  In the world of the Death Works series, there are 13 individuals that carry the essence of Death and since the events of Death Most Definite, Steven is one of them. But unlike his peers, he never wanted the job. It was an unfortunate by-product of fighting for his life, and winning.  Apparently the job sucks, because Steven hates it. He drinks; he avoids; and he basically lets much of the responsibilities fall to those around him.

Unfortunately for Steven, there are two new threats which force him out of slackerdom.  One is a giant primordial super-bad God headed toward the realm. And the second is a more tangible, yet mysterious, person who is trying to kill Steven directly.  Oh, and Steven has to plan a conference for all the other 12 death-delegates coming to town.

I found this installment of the series a bit darker than the first one.  Not that Steven was able to coast through the first book.  But now the weight of the world seems heavier on his shoulders.  He has lost so much and has to shoulder so much burden. He’s crippled by his own ignorance and a revolving door of betrayal by those around him.He still has his cousin Tim and his girlfriend Lissa by his side, but they’ve lost that us-against-the-world feeling that made me root for them so hard in the last go-around.  I love Steven –and I feel sorry for him.  And when everyone’s machinations are finally revealed, it’s like a punch in the gut.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn, and I’m hoping for a little light in poor Steven’s future.  This was a really good book… but I would strongly advise reading Death Most Definite before you even think about reading it.   It will certainly give you a richer experience.  This installment is a little lighter on the love story, and the mood was heavier… but I never wanted to put down.  I hope life (and Death) go a little easier on Steve by the time we reach the conclusion of his story. 4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

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