Reaping Me Softly Review

By Kate Evangelista
Published on October 30, 2012
Published by Omnific Publishing
Source: ARC from publisher
Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?
There were several times while reading this book that I just flat out put it down and walked away from it, determined to add it to the DNF pile.  For some reason, I kept going back to it, mostly because I just hate not knowing how things end. Well, now I do and I still am pretty unsatisfied.

Arianne has the pretty unique ability of being able to see dead people. It's pretty hard to deal with sometime, but she's just kind of accepted it, because there's nothing she can do about it.  She's frequently accompanied by her best friend Ben, who she often seems overly chummy with and if this would have turned into a love triangle, I would have thrown something.  I found their relationship a little weird, including the fact that she just sneaks into his house all the time to talk and hang out.  I know I was a boring, non-risk-taking sort of kid, but Ari gets away with all sorts of absurd things that just feel so very foreign to me.

I felt like the writing was stilted sometimes, and the dialogue often suffered from "but people don't really TALK like that" syndrome.  There's also some insta-love, although it's on Niko's part -- Ari's crushed on him for years, but he never noticed her until now... and now, of course, he's madly in love with her.  The tone of the story switched from being light-hearted when Ari is the focus, to being incredibly dark whenever it focuses on Niko, the Reapers, and Death. I would have gladly read a whole book that focused on Death and his Reapers and the whole society and traditions they have there; unfortunately, they were just a small sliver of this book.

But the biggest thing that almost had me walk away from the book is when an LGBT character was forcibly outed by another character. I don't want to say too much about the situation because it's a spoiler, but, look, I don't care what a person has or hasn't done, there is pretty much no reason in my mind to force someone to come out when they're not ready for it. It happens in real life, of course, but that doesn't mean that it's okay. Yes, this person is a bully, but that sort of retaliation still isn't cool.  The outed character is written as someone who "deserved it" and no one really seems concerned with the consequences for that person being outed against their will.  This is a plot point that I just was not okay with.

The world-building in this book is interesting, especially around the Reapers, but it wasn't enough to overcome sometimes weak writing and some really infuriating plot points.  The book sets things up for a sequel, but I doubt I'll be sticking around for it.

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