The only reason I found this book was when I was searching Amazon for my own graphic novel and because the title of this book is so close to my own it also came back in the search. The cover was the first thing to grab my attention, as it was quite different and intriguing. Surprisingly I actually read the description of the book and was sold, but it was mainly the cover. When will I learn?
George Pendle is a British author and journalist. He has written articles for The Times, Financial Times, and The Los Angeles Times to name a few. He has also written four novels, and two seem to be what are known as fake autobiographies, Death a Life and The Remarkable Millard Fillmore. I do not know much else about him other than this is the first book of his that I have read. Pendle seems like an intelligent and very clever and funny writer, which in my opinion is difficult to do.
This story starts at in the beginning, and I mean the very beginning even before Creation. Death was born in Hell, and his parents, Lucifer and Sin, were not the normal parents as you can imagine, not to mention growing up in Hell, literally. The story follows his life and the struggle as he comes into his own to finally figure out his calling and his purpose. Surprisingly Death did not always know what he was supposed to do, which I found ironic. The reader get a comedic and wild ride through the journey of Death as he travels through the world of the living encountering all sorts of craziness.
I really liked this one. It is a very interesting take on Death not only as the subject but at the entity himself which is often overlooked. What I liked the most about this story was that it was funny, which I have never seen before. I’m saying that I was not rolling around on the ground laughing my face off as I read every page, but there were quite a few parts that I found myself snickering as I read. I think that was the goal of the author. He seemed to want to write a book more or less poking fun at the idea of Death and the other omnipotent beings, making sure to make fun of them whenever possible.
Another point I liked in the book was the alternate history of the way things worked out. Like the book explains what happened to Unicorns, which is pretty funny, along with so many other mythical creatures , along with the first murder mystery (Cain and Able). Personally, while this may offend some people, I did think it was funny as God and Death had some interesting conversations and you see God say some funny things. “Me in Heaven!” Also when Jesus enters the picture you get a totally different view of the Son of God, who seemed to be more of a practical joker and problem child in the story rather than the savior of mankind. Again some may be offended by this but I thought it was all in good fun as these topics are often taken way to seriously.
While the majority of the story is funny and there seems to be no bounds as to where it might go as we are dealing with the divine as well as the entity of Death, toward the end it does take a somewhat more serious turn. When I first started the story I obviously did not know where it was going to end up, but I can certainly say that I never in a million years thought the story would weave its path the way it did. The more I think about it, I liked it and mostly makes sense. Also, there is a pretty good moral or a bit of a deeper meaning in this one, which I liked given it was very unexpected. There is also a bit of irony that I think it genius in the story, but I don’t want to ruin it for those that want to read it.
Probably the most important thing that I forgot to mention about this book is that it is told as a sort of biography, a story about Death’s very own life if you will. It begins with his birth and his upbringing in Hell, which is quite hysterical as well. It is funny to see how his father, Satan, and him interact. They basically hate each other, which is like loving each other for the rest of us normal folk. Basically everything is back words in Hell. Which again makes for some funny conversations. “I hate you dad.” “I hate you too son.” Ahh makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There are also scenes where Sin, Death’s Mother, want him to feel terrible again, but he insist he is fine and feel good, which is the exact opposite of how he should feel.
As I have said already numerous times, this book is pretty funny. As a writer, and I use that term in the loosest sense, I believe humor and comedy is one of the hardest things to write. What is funny to me may not be funny to you and vice versa. I think the author does an excellent job mixing comedy with the divine. To an extent I think it may have been easier to write this with comedy because literally, and I mean literally, nothing is off limits for the story. It was very clever of him to use this genre so he didn’t paint himself in a corner where something may not be believable or that something could not happen. Some writers set up a certain world and have to stick to it, not in this case. My point is that it is possibly easier when you can write in anything you want, but I do not want to diminish what he did. It is truly a funny and intriguing book.
One thing I did find interesting is the amount of research the author must have done. At the end he does give thank quite a few people who I am sure helped with some of the names of demons and what not. I also think this is a very clever and creative story. I have not read anything like this before, certainly a first for me.
I enjoyed this book and it is not too long which is a good thing. There really are no negatives in this one in my opinion, but I am not saying it is the greatest thing ever written, just there are no real drawbacks. It is about the perfect length, kept me interested, was funny yet still had an important message in it. If I am being picky I will say that toward the middle I was wondering where the story was going, but I did not care too much because there was so much just random and odd stuff going on that I did not ponder that question long. I recommend this book as if you are like me you will enjoy it on quite a few different levels. Check this one out if you get a chance.