Narrator: Anthony Haden Salerno
Series: Soul Screamers #3.5
Published by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. on December 1, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 1 hour 51 minutes
Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food, and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him - and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.
Suddenly, Tod's future wasn't so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life... Death... or something Between....
A Soul Screamers series novella.
My Initial Reaction…
I enjoyed this quick glimpse at Tod, Nash’s reaper/banshee brother from the Soul Screamers series. Up until now we’ve only gotten quick glances at him, but this short story is entirely from his perspective, and answers a lot of questions about him.
I really missed Amanda Ronconi, though I understand the switch to a male narrator to match Tod as narrator, rather than Kaylee. It was hard to adjust to though, because Salerno’s characterization of both Tod and Nash is different form Ronconi’s. In fact, it’s almost the complete opposite – instead of Tod having a scratchy voice, now Nash does. Adjustment aside, the narration was okay. Characters do have distinctly different voices and women (there are very few) come off ok. But they don’t come to life with the skill that Ronconi has brought to the series.
Tod is a real treat in this short – we finally get to know who he is and how he became a reaper. You see some of the qualities you’ve already seen coming through in the novels, but definitely heightened. For example, he’s shown himself to be fiercely loyal to those he loves and this is even more true in Reaper.
We also get to know Nash and a little bit more about what he’s been through. My general feel for him until know had been that he’s a weak character in need of some personal conviction, but now I see that he has grown quite a bit. In Reaper he is so childish and selfish; I suspect we don’t see as much of that in the books in large part because of the events of this short.
This short story starts in the Hudson home, before Tod’s death and before Nash came to Kaylee’s school. Nash has been grounded due to getting into some trouble with his current girlfriend, Sabine, and Tod is on guard duty while Harmony works her night shift. Not unsurprisingly Nash isn’t happy to be stuck in the house and Tod, with his girlfriend over, isn’t exactly thrilled to be on guard duty. Needless to say, it’s not a quite night at home for the boys and a few bad decisions end in disaster for the Hudson household.
Tod’s story is full of surprising twists and heartwarming details that will make you look at the reaper in brand new ways. Because it is a look back in time, the big elements in the story are not surprising though; you’re most certainly not on the edge of your seat. I think this might have been more enjoyable as a prequel, though I don’t know if I would have felt the necessary investment in the characters at that point to enjoy it as much as I did at this point.
Reaper fits in really well as a precursor to the next book in the series (My Soul to Steal) and gives some really interesting insights that I expect to have repercussions later in the series. I’d recommend it for a fun, quick read.