BookBin2012: Death’s Daughter

Here’s another book I finished back in September. Huzzah!

Death’s Daughter is the first in the Calliope Reaper-Jones series penned by Amber Benson.

Full disclosure: I only chose to read this novel because it was written by Amber Benson. Yes, she played Tara on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Yes, I just watched this show for the first time. No, I’m not getting into the details of what I thought.

At least not here.

Tara was one of my favorite characters, and I attribute a great deal of that to Benson’s portrayal, which was sensitive, strong, funny, and ultimately heart-breaking in so many ways. Of course, when I learned that she was now carving a path for herself in the literary world, I was intrigued.

So, here’s the thing: Just like Buffy was a soap opera disguised as a fantasy show, Death’s Daughter is chick lit disguised as a fantasy novel. Unfortunately, fantasy is an iffy enough genre for me on its own, but when you combine it with the even less appealing “chick lit” genre…well, you’re inching dangerously close to the edge of my ability to stay focused on what you’re trying to tell me.

Still, Amber Benson.

Here’s a quick plot summary: Calliope Reaper-Jones is, indeed Death’s Daughter. His middle daughter, to be precise. She doesn’t want anything to do with her family or the decidedly depressing family business, so she wipes her memory and takes off for New York City, to make her own way. However, her plan of blissful normalcy is obliterated when her father is kidnapped and she is tasked with finding him.

Indeed, hilarity does thus ensue.

Truth be told, this book feeds a bit too heavily upon the tropes of traditional chick lit for it to really appeal to me. Calliope is a bit too…Carrie Bradshaw at times. I probably wouldn’t have minded if she’d been more Samantha Jones, but that might have been too feisty for what I’m assuming is a book marketed to Young Adults as well as the Terminally Geeky.

And I have now pretty much exhausted my knowledge of Sex and the City. Thank the prophets.

“Callie,” as she is called, fits the fantasy trope bill of “unwilling hero/ine” quite well. She does not want this duty. She is unprepared and even a bit whiny about the entire ordeal. I can’t say I wouldn’t be the same since I’ve never found myself tasked with temporarily being “Death” and dealing with all variety of strange and sometimes scary underworld characters. Still…this novel confirmed for me that chick lit AND fantasy make for a very difficult journey at times.

Then again, Amber Benson.

I wanted to like this book. On certain levels, I did. It was a light and oftentimes funny read. The plot, while dependent upon many very familiar tropes of the genres, was well-considered and intriguingly executed. The fact that it falls within the boundaries of genres that I typically do not enjoy is not a reflection of its merit but rather a reflection of my own personal limits.

Final Verdict: I’m hanging onto this one for now, simply because I’m still debating whether or not I wish to read more about Death’s Daughter. As of now, there are three other Calliope Reaper-Jones novels, with a new one scheduled for a February 2013 release. I’m honestly curious as to whether the journey that Callie endured in this first novel changes her in ways that I might find a bit more enjoyable.

Also? Amber Benson.