Reaper's Novice (Soul Collector, #1) Blog Tour

Thanks to AToMR Tours, we're pleased to present a review for a brand new YA paranormal book, Reaper's Novice, by Cecilia Robert. Keep scrolling to check out our review and then enter to win all sorts of swag for yourself!

By Cecilia Robert
Published on January 10, 2013
Published by: self-published
Source: Blog tour
17- year- old Ana Maria Tei’s life has always been perfect: loving parents, good grades, and a future so bright it outshone the sun. But now words like “separation” and “divorce” are sending her world plummeting to hell. Determined to keep her family intact, Ana plans a family-bonding trip from Vienna to Tuscany. Except fate has other plans. Ana’s parents and siblings are killed in a car accident on their way to pick Ana up from school.

Enter Grim, aka Ernest. He promises to relinquish the four souls if Ana agrees to trade her soul for theirs and serve a lifetime as his novice. In order for Ana to graduate from her Reaper’s Novice station to a Soul Collector graduate, Grim puts her to test. To her horror, she finds out becoming a Reaper’s Novice didn’t happen by chance. It was preordained, and she is forced to make a choice: save her family’s souls or come to terms with who she really is and complete the task set for her
I love the idea of books about Grim Reapers but have been burned before, so I was a bit wary going into this once.  However, I found that I enjoyed reading Reaper's Novice, which focuses on Ana, who gives up her soul and serve as a Soul Collector to save her family after a horrific car accident.  The story is set in Vienna, which makes for a beautiful, historic backdrop for the events.

Ana is a character who is absolutely devoted to her family and friends.  She was written very realistically, and you could really feel her pain when her family was pulling apart, and her grief when she thinks that they are all dead.  She is a normal teenage girl who, despite her new status as apprentice to the Grim Reaper, still has to worry about going to classes and maintaining relationships with her friends, on top of her new duties of Soul Collector.

The cast of characters here is very rich and well developed, including Ana's school friends and Zig, a fellow Soul Collector who helps teach Ana many of her duties.  We don't get to see much of Grim/Ernest, but I suspect he'll play a larger role in the following books in the series.  Each character plays a different role for Ana in her new life, and it was a refreshing change of pace to read a book where the character has so many supportive people in her life.  There are ups and downs, of course, but overall Ana has a great bunch of people surrounding her, and it's easy to see why she's so devoted to them.

Also, can we talk about the cover for a moment?  I mean, look how accurately it shows Ana! It's sad how rare it is to see a person of color on a book cover, so I was overjoyed to see that she was accurately represented on the cover of this one.  More of this, please!

As more elements were introduced into the story, I felt that it got a little convoluted, and there were a lot of minor characters to keep track of, which made it a little difficult to be able to put this book down for a bit and be able to pick it up quickly without backtracking. I did feel like the writing was maybe a little overly wordy, and there were some awkward or stilted phrasings that I wished had been smoothed out in editing, but nothing too bad.  Aside from some physical violence, death, and kissing/making out scenes, this is a very clean read.

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