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WesternSFA
The Golden Age of Death
by Amber Benson
Ace Books, $7.99, 324pp
Release Date: March 5, 2013
This is the fifth book in this series, but only the first that I have read (must go back and catch up).  The main character Calliope Reaper, although supernatural, reflects the same issues that us mere mortals have (dealing with family, supporting somewhat neurotic friends, and being in love with the “bad boy,” literally, Satan Jr). I must admit that the constant shift in characters and points of view did give me pause in the beginning, but as I plowed on through came to give me a richness of background that I did not possess as this was my first book of this series. In this book, Callie has been left the family business “death;” however, in true sexist fashion, the Man in Gray is determined that he can do a better job at it and is set on getting rid of Callie, by wiping her out of existence… literally. Because he is semi-successful, this sets her posse on a quest to find her and bring her back, but this sets up its own twist and turns and potential major sacrifices along the way if they are going to get her back; because there are other evil beings who also want a piece of Callie (because it can't be as simple as just one guy wanting to end the world, right?) and they're after all her loved ones as well.

The story intertwines characters like Noh, a clairvoyant who can see ghosts; Jennice a Real Estate agent who is maybe the back-up of the back-up death. Kali the Hindu Goddess of Death and Destruction who has become Callie's friend; Runt, the female hellhound pup that talks. Then there's Clio, Callie's younger sister (who may have to replace big sis if she can’t be found) who is in love with the Hindu God Indra, and  Jarvis De Poupsey, Callie’s assistant, who is leading the cast of characters in Callie’s absence and the charge to find her, indirectly. The characters and plots (as there are a few) are rich but can be confusing if you are not paying attention as they morphs and shift and characters that you thought were all about Callie turn out to be truly all about themselves and their agenda (shocking betrayal!!!!) This was a great story although the ending was a surprise and a bit sad, but as this is a death series… and Callie IS in charge of death...it may not be the true end…~~ Theresa Joseph

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