On the positive side, Death’s Daughter has an intriguing milieu that’s quite different from any other paranormal/urban fantasy I’ve bumped into. It’s a little reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality novels, but not unduly so. Benson also offers a few moments of genuine wit and some perceptive descriptions.
On the minus side, the viewpoint character Calliope Reaper-Jones reads like a younger (and whinier) amalgam of Candice Bushnell’s fashion name-dropping and Kim Harrison’s cartoonish sexualization of almost every male character in the novel (although to be fair, Reaper-Jones at least frets how appropriate her reactions are). Presumably Reaper-Jones will do a lot of growing up over the ensuing novels, but I was impatient for her to get on with it. I’m also impatient for Benson to fully realize her own voice and shake off some of the calculated-feeling genre hallmarks.
Aside: The book has one of those first inside page excerpts that are supposed to convince you to buy it. Because I read an ebook edition I thought that actually was the start of the novel, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t — I think it would have made a stronger start, and most of what came before could have been filled in as back story, making for a leaner, more compelling novel overall.
needs more demons? a few.