Croak (Croak #1)Hot
Original Twist on the Grim Reaper
One great thing about being a Cybil's panelist has to be discovering some great books. CROAK is one such book.
Right off the bat, I loved the voice of this wicked, funny paranormal. Lex is a teen Grim Reaper with mega 'tude. She's filled with anger but doesn't know why. Only one thing is certain--she doesn't tolerant anything or anybody. Not a great combination.
The author does a great job of showing us Lex's world. When she's sent to her Uncle Mort's, after yet another issue at school, that's where all the excitement begins. Seems Uncle Mort is like a mentor to Reapers. He wants to teach Lex the family business. For once, Lex is speechless.
I totally loved this world. The town of Croak is like an in between world. The other characters also add their own quirkness to this highly engaging story.
Very unique and original descriptions of what happens to a soul once it dies. We even get a glimpse of the After Life. Who knew that elixir is in the drink of choice for Reapers? Also I liked getting a peek at what some dead famous characters might be doing in the After Life. Edgar Allan Poe is hilarious. So are a range of other famous personalities.
The dialogue is hilarious. I was laughing throughout this story. Also the romance felt authentic in it's descriptions. It didn't feel forced or out of character.
The climax takes a wicked twist, darker than the rest of the story. I was surprised on who was behind the mystery involved in Croak.
I highly recommend this story to those who want a more unique telling that involves the paranormal world with a character that's not over the top snarly.
2. Hilarious take on the grim reaper
3. Original/unique world building
Careful of the Grim Reapers everyone...
From the moment I looked at the cover, I knew that I was going to love Croak. I mean, seriously. Take a good long look at it. There is a girl, who looks like she's got serious spunk, with a scythe slung over her shoulder. As soon as I opened the book and met Lex in the flesh, I knew this was going to be fun. And it was.
Lex has issues, according to her parents and just about everyone she knows. Two years ago she was the perfect student, and now she gets into random fights for no reason. So her parents send her off to her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a couple of months out in the country will help her "get better". But, where Lex was expecting to be shovelling cow manure all summer, she discovers that her Uncle Mort's job is much more sinister. He is a Grim Reaper, and apparently Lex is one too. And just as she thinks she might be adjusting to the shock of having someone tell her "Okay, so, we take souls off dead people and chuck them in the afterlife. Here's a scythe. Get to work.", it turns out there is a rogue reaper around. They are killing people who aren't supposed to be dead. And, of course, since this only started when Lex arrived, people are getting a bit suspicious, and Lex has got to get to the bottom of this.
The elaborateness (is that a word?) of the world of the Grim Reaper was so well thought out. The Smacks, the scythes, the Etceteras, the Cullers, absolutely everything. There was so much depth to this world it's hard to believe the author made it up. (Or did she.... da da da dahhh...)
Now, let's talk characters. First, we have the main character, Lex. Or rather, Lexington. At the start of the book I thought she was a little too hard-headed (I was like, "Two words. Anger. Management"), but then she really grew on me. She had a hilarious, dark humour that was so funny.
I liked all the side characters too. Uncle Mort, the expert, Driggs, the guy who finds peace in a room full of black widow spiders (full, as in the walls are literally crawling with them), Elysia, the talkative one, and all the rest, they all really grew on me.
Let me just warn you though, if you are not a fan of a) sardonic characters b) Grim Reapers or c) teenagers with anger issues, maybe Croak isn't the best choice for you. If you don't meet any of those though, I really suggest it. I can't wait to read the next one!!!
Croak caught my eye early on. Grim reapers. A strong and sarcastic main character. What more could a reader ask for? I was looking for something a little bit different in my reading list, and I thought that this would be just the ticket. As soon as I opened the book and met Lex in the flesh, I knew I was in for a treat! This book drew me in right away, and I happily followed along.
First off, I absolutely must talk characters because they are all so fabulous Each one has their own unique personality, and it's impossible not to fall in love with this motley crew. Lex's unflinching sarcasm, Drigg's cocky demeanor, overly optimistic Sofi, they all just shine off the page. I found myself giggling out loud, a lot. I also caught myself reading pages again, just to relive the hilarious banter and altogether random insults that they throw at one another. These are people I'd love to hang out with, and that made reading this book so much more fun.
Now that's not to say that the story here isn't good too. The beginning of the story is a little odd, but once Lex finds herself in Croak everything else starts to make sense. Without spoiling I can tell you that Lex finds herself in some pretty interesting situations. One of which involves some fluttery feelings for a boy. Now don't mistake, Lex isn't the shrinking violet type. Far from it. Let's just say that bruises ensue. Anyway, it is really the mystery aspect of the story that steals the show here. Damico drops just enough hints to keep you reading, and to keep the pace flowing really nicely. Even though I figured out the culprit pretty early on, the book was still a great read. That says a lot.
The one thing that I was so disappointed about was the ending. After being so caught up in Lex's life, and so enthralled by the mystery surrounding Croak, the ending just felt so flat to me. I'm sure others will love it, and still others will feel no big emotion either way. In my opinion though it was just too convenient and kind of anti-climactic. I know that this is the first in a series though, so I'm hopeful! I'll be back for more.
Croak (A Room with Books review)
Croak started off pretty slow, but I found myself really enjoying it by then end. At first everything seemed really predictable. I just thought the story would end up being about Lex’s adventures as a Grim over the summer but it ended up being a lot more exciting than that.
This book is definitely an acquired taste. If you’re not a fan of sardonic characters then you should probably resolve to never read Croak since it’s chock-full of them. I find these types of characters to usually only be okay, but everyone really grew on me as I read, especially the side characters. Lex was good and all, but I really like Uncle Mort, Driggs, and the rest of the lot. Maybe I just admire the way they were able to put up with Lex’s crappy attitude :P
And let me just warn all you spider-haters out there (myself included) there is one chapter that will have you wanting to run in your room, stuff all the cracks and crevices, and hide under your covers. Even touching the book gave me the willies after reading that part!
I really liked all the eccentricities that made up croak and working in the death business. It was unique and, though morbid at times, enjoyable to read about.
The Nutshell: If you’re a fan of dark humor you’ll probably really enjoy Croak. There’s a bit of mystery thrown in so it’s not just all about how Lex spent her summer as a Grim, and of course, there’s a little romance as well. Though I wasn’t able to connect with Lex I found all the side characters rather enjoyable and complete. I’m looking forward to the sequel!
Hilarity Level: 9000+
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.
Uncle Mort smirked. “Adorable.”
The two rolled their eyes in unison, then disappeared into the ether.”
~pg. 90, Croak by Gina Damico
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.
Amazingly, awesomely, astoundingly fantastic! This was so fun and easy to read. The setting, the characters, the story, the sharp dialogue, everything was so good!
I want to move to the town of Croak. With its morbid shop names and eccentric townspeople, it provided the perfect setting for this quirky tale.
I absolutely loved all the characters. Uncle Mort was crazy awesome; he's like the cool mad scientist dude whose always doing weird stuff impulsively. Lex was an awesome MC. She was never without a witty comeback, and it was cool watching her become who she was meant to be, a Reaper. But I think I liked Driggs the most. He was hilarious and loved chocolate, pretty much the perfect guy! I especially loved the relationship between Lex and Driggs; they complement each other very well.
This book made me love Reapers even more! The mythology the author wrote for these characters, like what the scythe is for, how to transfer the souls, the idea of the Afterlife, etc., was really interesting. Plus, the whole story with the mysterious dead people and the rogue Reaper had me flying through this book.
The ending was slightly darker than the rest of the story and was fantastic. I can't wait to see where the author takes the story!
Overall: A great paranormal read; you will not regret picking this up!
Great, funny characters
Pretty much everything
Fantasmagorical Debut for Fans of the Show Dead Like Me
Damico has a really interesting writing style; she definitely has a cadence of her own. She also puts a unique spin on things. For example, due to Lex's extreme violence, her mom ties her up in jump ropes to have a serious talk. Lex's mom also is obsessed with American history, particularly military history, so much so, in fact, that she named her children for Civil War battles; Lex is short for Lexington.
For example, here's a pretty typical quote from Croak: "She wished, as almost all kids wish at one point or another, that she could turn into a pterodactyl and fly away and never come back." Obviously, Damico's really funny, but it's definitely a quirky, dark humor. Her whole style definitely took some adjusting to, but I really appreciate the snarkiness of her writing.
My initial thought, and why I was attracted to this one (aside from the fact that Gina is an Apocalypsie) is because the premise sounded very Dead Like Me. If you haven't seen the show, I highly recommend you go watch at least the first episode, which is one of the best things I have ever seen ever. Anyway, they do have some things in common, like the grim reapers and the sarcastic heroine and the dark sense of humor. However, I also got a bit of a Eureka vibe from Croak, since the town is full of such strange, intelligent people. How can those things not add up to be some brand of awesome?
So yeah, it's pretty freaking awesome. Lex is a cool character, strong, sarcastic and sassy. Plus, she's so not the typical heroine. For one thing she's as violent as Ashline from Wildefire. Also unlike most YA heroines, she really doesn't want anything to do with all of that stupid teenage hormone-driven love stuff. For that reason, she is not pleased at having to share a domicile with the unfortunately super hot (and often annoying) Briggs. All of the characters are vibrant and quirky.
If you like dark humor and stories out of the norm, do not miss Croak. Another stellar debut from the Apocalypsies! I am so excited that there's going to be more of this series!