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Review from The Word Fiend,
This review is from: Death Most Definite (Steven De Selby 1) (Paperback)
Death Most Definite is another book from my I-liked-the-look-of-it-so-I-took-a-chance collection. And I am on a roll discovering new authors and worlds.
My compliments to Orbit's creative team for this cover. There's nothing too fussy about it and the whole thing just works. Of course it doesn't hurt that the model isn't particularly hard on the eye... The colours remind me of new beginnings which is an interesting way to view death, but in the world of necromancers that is exactly what it is. You may not be able to see it from the cover image above, but there are crows embossed on the cover so that when you tilt the book they appear and disappear as the light catches them. I think they're a great touch.
I really enjoyed reading an Urban Fantasy set outside of the USA or Europe. Death Most Definite is set in Brisbane, Australia. It's good to see an author confident enough in their story to choose a setting that is outside the norm. Trent Jamieson is Australian, so it's not too big a surprise that he chose this as his location, but I would imagine that the temptation to choose a setting that global readers are more familiar with must be high. I think he made the right call - there is a feeling of authenticity to the book that wouldn't have been their otherwise.
Jamieson's writing is sharp and laced with humour. Using humour in a novel can be dangerous because you run the risk of moving from "witty" to "ridiculous" rather quickly. But Jamieson manages to pull it off with the humour balancing out the seriousness and drama of the plot.
Death Most Definite starts really well, but then drags towards the middle before ending on a real high. This lull is not because nothing is happening, but rather because a lot is happening to Steven, but he's not really doing much himself. I think that having Steven take some more decisive actions, even if they were the wrong ones, would have helped the plot in the middle. But as I said, it really does end on a high and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series, Managing Death.
Steven de Selby is a Psychopomp - he facilitates the transition of the newly dead into the Underworld. Despite this cool sounding gig Steven is a non-starter. He's happy to just coast through life until life stops giving him the option to. It's unusual in a protagonist. Even when his world comes toppling down it takes a while (and a lot of pushing from Lissa) to get him to take any real action apart from running. Now I'm all for running when the going gets homicidal, but I think that Steven could have reached the point where he could run no more a bit sooner. Having said this I actually quite like Steven as a character. He's a bit of a geek which appeals to me and once he gets moving he manages to surprise himself.
Death Most Definite is the start of what looks to be an entertaining new Urban Fantasy series. Check it out.