Being the Grim Reaper is a tough job. Just ask seventeen-year-old Sebastian Scott, who has the dubious position thrust upon him against his will. He soon finds that the gig has both advantages and drawbacks.
Author Thomas Graves does a wonderful job of thrusting the reader firmly into the middle of the non-stop action and highly visual supernatural environments. The pages fairly crackle with excitement and blood-chilling, life-and-death circumstances.
Sebastian eases into his new role by learning — to his dismay — that for every life he saves, one must be taken. And it’s Sebastian’s task to escort each soul through the ultra-scary realm of Purgatorium to the slender cone of bright white light that will take them into the next life.
Sara, the love of Sebastian’s young life, encounters an unfortunate accident near the start of the novel just as Sebastian is starting to get the hang of his supernatural abilities. Her fate becomes inextricably tied to that of Sebastian’s best friend Jared, and a titanic struggle between good and evil ensues.
But it’s the cinematic writing skills shown by the author that truly carry the day in this book. Consider, for example, this lyrical passage presaging a critical scene:
“The Reaper’s heartbeat quickened. He held his breath, waiting to see what would happen next. An electric and living power filled him, focused within the flesh of his hands, and slithered under his skin, almost burning him with the ache to be released. The sensation was as if he stood in a warm, dark ocean with the tide pulling at him, begging for him to let go.”
You’ll encounter Phantoms, Stalkers, sinister Souls, and even a friendly Zombie in this wildly imaginative romp through alternate realities. But wait. What are those Archangels doing here?
Five stars to Dark Destiny. It will surely satisfy the YA audience for whom it is intended — and it’s not a bad read if you’re an adult horror fan looking for something a little outre. But watch for the Reaper. He might be coming for you next!