Review of The Golden Age of Death by Amber Benson (Ace Feb 26, 2013)
This is the fifth volume of Amber Benson’s stories about Calliope Reaper-Jones (Callie), the daughter of the Grim Reaper. The Reaper himself is deceased, making Callie the CEO of his company Death, Inc. Callie is like many 20-somethings, with worries about her job and its future, her family and her boyfriend.
However, her job is now to be Death and to survive the attacks of the ender of Death who killed her father. When the situation in the afterlife is so bad that the ender of death wants to ally with Death, then the whole universe must be on the verge of self-destruction.
Her family and her boyfriend want to help, but they can’t cooperate, so instead of heeding the advice of Jarvis the butler they all do their own thing, causing an even more complicated situation that results in more deaths.
Callie is starting to get the hang of being the boss so she gives her family a proper earful but still has a blind spot about her boyfriend Daniel. She does hear the truth about him from a friend but still doesn’t believe it. Seeing the good side of everyone may not be a survival trait for Death.
Callie and her supporting cast are well developed characters who will draw you in to their crazy funny world. The afterlife run as a company? Death living in Newport, Rhode Island with a hell hound puppy who talks? Benson has created a profoundly insane world, but it is immensely entertaining, with hot characters of both sexes and many strange couples of several persuasions.
It is very tightly plotted and is written as a mystery with no one knowing all the pieces until the end. Without the tight plotting all the groups of characters running around in this volume would be confusing, but Benson manages to run the groups into each other and separate characters off in ways which keep things moving.
As the title of this volume implies, Callie reaches an agreement which will end some of the fighting, but of course different enemies will appear in the future. Both her mom and her sister appear to have found boyfriends so the family drama will now have additional characters. Hopefully we will see more from crazy Calliope in the near future.