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Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

When Death’s away [On Behalf of Death #4], by E. G. Stone

5 out of 5 stars. With some new dark undertones, this story is a perfect melange between humour and a fantastic tale.

5 stars

I have to start this review with a confession: By now, I think I am legally a fanboy of this series. On Behalf of Death turned out to be the series of humorous fantasy I didn’t know I needed in my life! So my opinion might be tinted by the fact that I really like this series. Then again, all my reviews are basically me telling you how much I liked (or disliked) a certain book, so here we go!

If you’ve read this series so far, you already know that Cal is in trouble since Death lost his soul (oops). If you haven’t read this series so far, what are you waiting for?

Being soulless might be hard enough, but then Cal has to work as an interim Death, because the original Death goes away! What? No, he’s not searching for Cal’s soul. He’s on vacation.

Cal needed a vacation. Death got one. Life’s unfair (readers of this series already know she’s a bitch).

Life and Death – and their anthropomorphic representations – are rather complex concepts. They’re also the most important characters in this series (Cal is our hero, true, but without that struggle between Life and Death, none of these stories would exist.) So we truly have a Life and Death situation here, and we learn more about both entities. We probably learn the most about Death despite his absence, because Cal is acting as his temporary proxy. But we also get to learn more about Life (in certain ways).

Life and Death – maybe opposites do attract.

I think I’m starting to understand their roles in this universe better. Or at least Death’s role – Life still remains somewhat of a mystery. But that’s okay, life is meant to be full of mysteries while death is the inevitable end to all of them. Anyway, it makes me appreciate what E. G. has created even more, because I get the feeling that her world is evolving with every book, getting richer and fuller.

And our soulless hero might have lost parts of his snark for butter, but he surely gained an addiction to coffee (don’t we have it all?) – and to the absorbing of souls. Brimming with a part of Death’s power, he’s on his way to becoming Dark Cal. He’s already lost his soul – will he lose what’s left of his humanity, too?

Life is terrible. But I think Dark Cal won’t be a nice guy either.

This is what really brings this story to perfection for me – while Cal and Life team up for yet another SNAFU in dire need of cleaning up, the snark and the humour pair very well with this dark undertone to create an enjoyable tale.

Enjoy it with a cup of coffee ☕!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy and are leaving this review voluntarily.

By Stefan

father of two, not enough time to read everything I want to read

One reply on “When Death’s away [On Behalf of Death #4], by E. G. Stone”

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