Serpent’s Storm: This series is getting more serious

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book reviews Amber Benson Calliope Reaper-Jones 3. Serpent's StormSerpent’s Storm by Amber Benson

Calliope Reaper-Jones’s life takes a turn for the grim in Serpent’s Storm, the third book in Amber Benson’s series about the daughter of Death. These books have always featured some serious content, and Serpent’s Storm still contains some humor, but overall this is the most serious Calliope book so far.

The beginning is a little annoying, with Callie in full-on flippant mode, bored with her boyfriend Daniel for a rather obnoxious reason. It isn’t long, though, before Callie’s life is irrevocably shaken up. Benson yanks most of Callie’s “security blankets” away in a cascade of tragedies and betrayals. Callie now has to take on great responsibilities while trying to figure out who is on her side and who is a secret enemy.

The character relationships are heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking; the tragic events in Serpent’s Storm hit both Callie and the reader pretty hard. In addition to the cast we know and love, Benson also introduces several new, quirky supporting characters and places them in the unique vistas we’ve come to expect from her.

The wrap-up of the main plot is satisfactory. Callie undergoes a large amount of growth, and develops into a stronger, more independent character who is ready for heavier responsibilities. The epilogue, though, is simply evil! It’s not a cliffhanger for the main plot, but it leaves a particular subplot hanging and readers longing for a happy resolution to that aspect of the story.

If you’ve enjoyed the Calliope Reaper-Jones books all along, you’ll like this one despite its darker tone; Callie goes through some changes but is still recognizably her endearing, snarky self. If you thought the first two books were a little too fluffy, Serpent’s Storm is just what you were looking for. There’s very little fashion talk, Callie becomes more mature, and the book explores some of the gloomier possibilities of a Death-themed series.

Calliope Reaper-Jones — (2009-2013) Publisher: Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss… But when her father — who happens to be Death himself — is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle — only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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