Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Review: The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass

**Book Cover Photo here**

**This book was provided for review through NetGalley**

What it's about:
      One lovely summer night lit with fairy lights and filled with the sounds of laughter and children's games, Nikki Bramley visits a psychic, who tells him he's going to die.

     A year later, Nikki's family and Kitty, the girl who loved him, are reeling with the bizarre and traumatic circumstances surrounding his death.  When Kitty goes looking for answers, she finds much more than she bargained for in the Life and Death Parade, a group of psychics who pray to a myriad of saints and may or may not be all that they seem.

What I thought:
      Ok, so real talk: This book sounded so interesting and cool.  Psychics? Creepy portents that come true? REVEALING THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE AND DEATH AND WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO NIKKI BROMLEY?! Yes. It all sounded so good.

     HOWever, in my opinion, this book was a bit of a letdown.  The first half of the book seemed like a bit of a hot mess.  The characters felt like miserable cardboard cutouts, and I didn't really care about what happened to them, because all this dramatic stuff goes down right off the bat, and I felt no connection to them.  I feel like, in order to feel something for the characters in a book, you should know them and be connected with them first. Throughout the first part of the book I just felt vaguely annoyed with everyone, because nothing had really been explained or described character-wise.  Another thing I noticed was that the characters often said something, then two pages later, completely changed their minds and said the exact opposite thing.  It was like none of them could keep their story straight and everyone was either lying or just confused about how they felt.  

     The story itself feels kind of like it's being summarized by someone who read an actual book--sort of like a rambling sparknotes version.  There's a LOT of descriptive language about the scenery and the actions of the characters, but no really solid storyline that tells the reader where we've been and where we're headed.  Every time we come to some new information, it's like one step forward, two steps back.  Instead of becoming clearer, the story just gets weirder and more confusing.  At one point when I checked to see how far I was, expecting to be about 10% through, I discovered that I was 30% done with the book, but nothing really had happened yet.

     The back and forth between the present and the flashback scenes is not very well executed.  The flashbacks seemed to be out of order and don't actually explain anything, they just make Nikki (which, tbh, totally seems like the female version of this name to me) look crazy and psychotic, which is sort of an established fact, since they keep referencing how he went nuts after the psychic foretelling his death.  Also, you know, he's now dead via mysterious circumstances surrounding a creepy psychic visit.

That being said, things did definitely pick up for the better during the second half of the book. There were some big twists that I totally was not expecting, and I'm glad I didn't DNF the book, like I saw that some people had done on the goodreads page for the book.  One of my favorite parts was the actual Life and Death Parade scene. I feel like it was vivid and beautiful; one part psychic fair, one part foresty Burning Man.  Once we got more information from that scene, the story did really start to come together and make more sense and get much more interesting! I enjoyed how the mystery of Nikki's life and death was revealed, and the ending was unexpected, but in a good way!

Overall, I think the first part of this book didn't grab me and pull me in the way I would have wanted, but the second half of the book was interesting and mystical and just a tad bit creepy, but in a good way!

Rating: 3 stars.

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