Afterlife (Resurrection Chronicles #1) by Merrie Destefano

Released: September 28, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 322
Publisher: Eos
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-199081-6

I picked up Afterlife as part of my quest to complete Dark Faerie Tales’ debut urban fantasy author challenge. And to be honest, this book was nothing like I expected. The cover suggests that the main character in the story is a blonde with a big, black dog, and she’s one of the characters but it’s by no means the only one of the major players in Afterlife.

The basic premise of Afterlife is that everyone in the world has the option to resurrect, but only nine times, thanks to a company called Fresh Start. However, there are people in the world who want true immortality and will stop at nothing to get it.

The novel is told from five different characters’ perspectives: Chaz, his brother Russell, his Babysitting charge Angelique, a dog named Omega, and their nemesis Neville. Yeah, the dog gets chapters written from his perspective. The basic story is that resurrection is a way of life for most of the people on the planet, but you can only resurrect nine times before you’re through. When you resurrect, you’re assigned a Babysitter to see you through the first week of your fresh start, and Chaz is one such Babysitter. He’s actually in the family business since the resurrection company, Fresh Start, is run by his brother, Russell. Each chapter gives a character’s name at the head, and then the whole chapter is written in the first person. I’m not a huge fan of shifting perspectives like this (as I mentioned when I talked about Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong) and I found it particularly irritating in this one.

I also didn’t like the romance element in the novel. There’s not much of it, which would be fine, except there are a couple leaps that the reader is expected to take, without seeing any of the chemistry between the two characters, except for a few meaningful looks. I’m all for books that focus on the non-romantic plot aspects but I don’t like it when the characters manage to fall deeply in love off the page over the course of the novel.

Also, Chaz and Russell’s last name seems to change from “Dominguez” to “Domingue” partway through the novel. I just don’t get that either.

I really wanted to like Merrie Destefano‘s debut but I was underwhelmed by the whole experience. I didn’t feel invested in the characters but I thought the world building was really interesting and different. While that’s not enough for me to purchase her next book, I’d definitely get it from the library, to see if I would enjoy it more than Afterlife, since my expectations will be quite different.

Two books left in the challenge! I just might make it!

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