Part action/adventure, part dark fantasy/horror, part thriller, with a touch of history and literary allusions and mythology makes for one spine-tingling, leaves-you-breathless book!
Sam Thornton collects souls as an agent for a dark force. In this book, he is sent to collect the souls of ‘The Brethren’ – former collectors themselves. He can hop bodies and inhabit a living soul, or recently dead one. Or, if the body he is in is destroyed, he will re-establish himself. He’s the perfect collector.
Author Chris F. Holm has given us a heroic character, completely, humanly flawed, despite the fact that he is no longer human, and makes him incredibly like-able! From the comic-superhero-patter dialog, to the shrug-your-shoulders-and-do-your-job attitude, we can’t help but like and root for Sam Thornton. He’s a bad-ass reaper without the bad-ass attitude (most of the time).
it’s hard to say what I liked most about this book without giving too much away. I liked the location near the end, with his finally realizing … how do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found…do the opposite of what everything points to and ultimately you’ll get to where you want (and the others don’t want) you to be. And the characters there — one expected, when you know the location and the others a surprise — are also well sullied. We can feel their exhaustion yet their instinct and fight to remain ‘alive.’
Although a book three in a series, I never felt as though I were missing a big piece of the picture. I picked this up and started reading and was immediately immersed in the story. Anything I needed to know about what happened previously, I was enlightened in the natural flow of the story. This easily stands alone as its own novel, though I can’t wait to go find the first two books, and I’ll quickly pick up any new books that might come out.
A little bit of back story is interspersed throughout — Sam’s first ‘reap’ is told (it’s quite the job!) as a side (parallel) story, and there’s just enough of a hint of a romance that we can wish for something more to happen, even though it seems forever unlikely.
And if you’ve read many of my reviews, you know that I like a high-stakes game. I want obstacles that challenge our protagonist, and I want the stakes to be high. Given what Thornton experiences at the end, The Big Reap gives us both.
Looking for a good book? This is top-notch, high quality adventure/dark fantasy at it’s finest.
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The Big Reap
author: Chris F. Holm
series: The Collector #3
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 378 pages