Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A heartbreakingly beautiful lovestory with bittersweet undertones that nevertheless offers a wholly satisfying HEA.
review contains what might be considered spoilers
The Blurb: Simon has waited centuries for someone like Robert, but their first meeting is intended to be their last: Robert’s time on Earth is up, and it is Simon’s place to take him out of this world and into the next. Instead, Simon makes a split-second decision to save Robert’s life, though he is uncomfortably aware he has only postponed the inevitable.
Robert quickly falls for Simon, but when he notices the way Death seems to follow him around, his curiosity about Simon’s true nature turns to suspicion, all but erasing his memories of the man. Simon must fight to make him remember… and to stop Robert from making a grisly mistake.
Simon, aka Death, is a person walking the earth, a living, breathing being, capable of emotions, rarely seen by the living and only speaking to the souls of the dead he’s supposed to send through the portal. Actually, Death is rather prone to depression due to the fact he’s the loneliest person on Earth.
Thrown out by his father, Robert Lasker is working as an exotic dancer to make ends meet. He’s not ashamed of what he does for a living, but unlike his friend Jerry, he doesn’t particularly enjoy it either. Robert’s biggest dream is finding someone to love and settle down with, but he’s afraid he has nothing to offer to anyone. However, when he meets handsome Simon, the attraction between them is immediate and mutual, and Robert’s dream seems well within his grasp for the first time.
For the first time in centuries, a living human being looks at Simon and actually SEES him – and it doesn’t take more than one smile from Robert for Simon to take the leap. Literally. Because when the stage lights that are supposed to mortally injure Robert crash down, Simon jumps to Robert’s rescue, thus for the first time defying his duty and altering a soul’s course of life and death.
But the flight of fancy of one Death can’t change the course of the greater whole. Robert’s fate has been altered, and it has to be brought back on track soon. Over the course of three short days, actually, during which Simon must face a terrible decision: leaving Robert oblivious to his true nature and losing him forever afterwards – or be honest with Robert, risking to condemn Robert to the same existence Simon has come to loathe so bitterly?
This was a beautiful, thought-provoking story. The premise alone – imagine meeting your death and falling in love with him. Or imagine you knew the exact number of days that are left to you on earth. How would you spend them? Would you try to make amends and right past wrongs? Even worse, imagine you knew the number of days your loved one has left. Would you share this knowledge or rather hide it to prevent unnecessary grief? Unanswerable questions that are nevertheless approached here. Robert and Simon are thrown into an impossible situation and released from it in a conclusive and very fitting way.
I found the characterizations well done. Both Simon and Robert are surrounded by their own air of loneliness, of desperation for companionship that makes them perfect for each other. So it was no wonder they quickly developed deeper feelings for each other. While I’m normally not a fan of characters rushing into a commitment, it worked here, in the face of an uneviteble fate and an unpostponable decision.
Glimpses at Simon’s past life were worked seamlessly into the story, giving him solid ground to root his motivations in, and I understood and felt compassion for his struggle to come to a decision regarding Robert.
Robert was such a sweet, innocent soul, it was impossible for me not to like him, even if I found him almost too good to be true. The way he came to terms with Simon’s true nature appeared a little too easy – are they both so desperate for company that they ‘d put up with anything, or are they really already this committed? I couldn’t tell. However, in the end there was no doubt it was the latter.
Oh and a honorable mention is due to one of the supporting characters, Reaper. HE was like I’d picture Death incarnate – mean, greedy, cruel, arrogant. And – to my surprise- ambitious. i’d love to see Reaper brought to fall, preferably by a love of his own!
I had some minor problems with the writing, mostly due to the way “he” and “him” referred to both heroes unambiguously, or sentences started with a indistinct “he” which was only one ore two sentences later clearly attributed to one character. This made for arduous reading at times.
I picked it up because the blurb made me curious as to how someone would go about making Death a lover without turning him into a token Joe Black – and I wasn’t disappointed. This was sweet, sad, gentle, passionate, a little bit scary and then sad again. This story takes the “happily ever after” literally – I can’t think of an ending that could have been more perfect for those two. Highly recommended.