Synopsis: Ferryman Charlie Dawson saves dead people—somebody has to convince them to move on to the afterlife, after all. Having never failed a single assignment, he’s acquired a reputation for success that’s as legendary as it is unwanted. It turns out that serving as a Ferryman is causing Charlie to slowly lose his mind.
Deemed too valuable by the Ferryman Institute to be let go and too stubborn to just give up in his own right, Charlie’s pretty much abandoned all hope of escaping his grim existence. Or he had, anyway, until he saved Alice Spiegel. To be fair, Charlie never planned on stopping Alice from taking her own life—that sort of thing is strictly forbidden by the Institute—but he never planned on the President secretly giving him the choice to, either. Charlie’s not quite sure what to make of it, but Alice is alive, and it’s the first time he’s felt right in more than two hundred years.
When word of the incident reaches Inspector Javrouche, the Ferryman Institute’s resident internal affairs liaison, Charlie finds he’s in a world of trouble. But Charlie’s not about to lose the only living, breathing person he’s ever saved without a fight. He’s ready to protect her from Javrouche and save Alice from herself, and he’s willing to put the entire continued existence of mankind at risk to do it.
“Death was just an abstract concept right up until the point when it wasn’t anymore.”
I feel very conflicted over my three star rating. Simply put because there were aspects of this book I adored and would love to have more of and for those parts alone I would’ve rated this book higher. But then come the parts that I didn’t enjoy so much and that’s what dragged my rating down. So why don’t we just get the bad stuff out of the way and end on a good note…I think that always works out the best.
Just like the quote above, there is very much to like about this book. The overall plot, for instance, really drew me in to begin with and kept me in high suspense until the end. All of the little elements, like the Ferryman keys and how the Ferryman themselves know nothing about what’s beyond the doors, was intriguing and I liked that a lot of the book ended up turning into a sort of puzzle that you have to figure out how all of these pieces fit together.
Of course, this is a very character driven book and so much of the book is driven simply by character action and dialogue or just exposition about the characters. Sometimes this could get a little meandering but it’s important when you’re trying to understand the characters as a whole. I liked that the book had a sort of alternating POV style as it proved more explantation and background for what was going on at different points.
And I liked the diversity of characters as well, the villain was hate worthy but I still wanted to know more about him. And I enjoyed all of the side characters just as much as I enjoyed Charlie and Alice (especially Melissa, she was my favorite…well maybe second to Cartwright, cause he’s the best😉).
The way the author dealt with the topics of death and suicide were nicely handled as well, I thought, there was just enough gravity for everything to be taken seriously but the book wasn’t given a horribly somber tone, which could’ve happened easily given these topics.
Oh and I have to give A+ points to the author for their sense of humor because I would’ve given this book 5 stars for the wit alone. The jokes had me cracking a smile so many times my face hurt😝.
Okay, so now for the stuff I wasn’t so fond of…
There is a sizable amount of profanity in this book. And not the kind that I would consider “necessary”. Although I always think alternative words can be used instead of curse words, I understand that if I’m reading a book set in modern day I should expect a certain level of cursing. But I felt that the amount in this book was slightly over, if not reaching towards potty mouth level. Unfortunately that is what dragged the rating down considerably for me as I felt the high level of profanity was unnecessary and could’ve been avoided.
The other reason I rated the book lower was because in the end I just couldn’t embrace the Alice/Charlie romance. Even though I knew that’s where the book was headed the entire time, by the end I was more invested in the two characters as individuals rather than as a couple and so was almost disappointed by their getting together, which sounds strange…I know.
Also, I haven’t seen where the author is planning a sequel, but I would hope he is because if not then the ending felt very rushed and somewhat unfinished unless that was purposeful to keep a level of intrigue.
Overall, this was an interesting, enjoyable read with great characters and fantastic humor. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh and something that will make you think about life as a whole.
*I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley from Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review*