Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Death Watch, by Ari Berk

Death Watch is a long book. I found the book very interesting, but not compelling. I never wanted to not finish, but when a book is compelling, I will sacrifice doing other things to read it. This one was just a book to read in my spare time. (It took me a week to read this -- that's unheard of.)

Silas doesn't know what happened to his father, Amos. He thinks his father is a mortician, whose job takes him away at times, but one time he just never returns. Silas' mother decides they need to move in with his uncle (Amos' brother) back in Lichport where Silas was born, and where his parents grew up. There Silas will discover that his father was an Undertaker, which is NOT a mortician. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say he helps people move on after their death.

His uncle is one of the most creepy, sinister people I've ever read.  As a matter of fact, all the characters are superbly written -- they are the best part of the book.

So Silas figures out that his uncle is up to something, possibly having to do with his father's disappearance. His mother is a drunk, so she's no help. He meets Mrs. Bowe and discovers his father owns a house, which Silas moves into. Mrs. Bowe also gives him his father's death watch, which allows the owner to see everything in the spiritual world when the hands are pressed.

There are many other characters that assist Silas in his quest to find out what happened to his father. Several of them are ghosts. Berk is a master at giving the reader just enough questions to keep turning the pages, then as soon as we think we might be figuring things out, there are more questions. The plot, also left nothing to be desired. The portrayal of the afterlife is intriguing, and could stimulate rich discussions.

The problem is with the pacing. There were times when some of the details had me glazing over. I really think a big hunk of this book could be edited, and not only would it make it a better book, it would make it more appealing to teens. I have very few teens that would have the patience to get through this book, and that's unfortunate, because is it really a very creative story, in a creative world, with really exceptional characters.

Published by Simon & Schuster, November 15, 2011
eBook ARC obtained from GalleyGrab
523 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 2.5/5

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  1. Whew you finished it! I agree with everything you said--it was interesting and I did want to keep reading but it was just too long :( I'll probably try to get back to it after it releases. Thanks for the review Annette!

  2. Awww, it's so frustrating when a book is ruined because of poor editing. This sounds like a book I would absolutely love, if it were a hundred or so pages shorter.


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