Managing Death, book #2 in Trent Jamieson’s Death Works series, picks up a mere two months after the end of book #1, Death Most Definite… and Regional Manager Steven de Selby still has a lot to learn about being Death. He could really use an instruction manual!
It’s not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then, they keep getting up again.
Steven de Selby got promoted. This makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumors of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. That time management seminar he keeps meaning to take would also remind him that he’s got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert.
Steven must start managing Death, before Death starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than Regional.
Steven’s been slacking off a bit on the job. He has horrific nightmares, even though he doesn’t really need to sleep at all, and so he drinks too much. Being Death isn’t all its cracked up to be. With the other twelve Regional Managers arriving in Brisbane in a matter of days for the biannual Death Moot that he still needs to organize, his girlfriend angry with him and someone trying to kill him… again… it’s no wonder he’s been hitting the bottle kind of hard.
Then there’s the bizarre Stirrer activity and, oh yeah… the Stirrer god that’s approaching to end the world. Steven needs to do something about that, too. Where is that to-do list again? The problem is that he was just a regular old Pomp before Morrigan, the Ankou to Mr. D, Steven’s predecessor, began a Schism and killed all of the other Pomps in the region, Steven’s parents and Lissa included, in an attempt to grab the Regional Manager position for himself. Steven defeated Morrigan during the Negotiation but he’s a bit clueless as to where to go from there.
Sure, he’s Death and has all kinds of mad skills due to that little promotion, but he still hasn’t come into his power. Not fully. There’s political maneuvering amongst the other RMs and he doesn’t know who to trust. He’s been offered an alliance by a couple of them and accepting one of them might seriously jeopardize his relationship with Lissa. Would he do such a thing? He loves Lissa, went into Hell itself to bring her back… sure, he really needs the help but would he lie to her to get it?
It took me a bit to get into this book but I don’t think it had anything to do with the story. It was just me, being distracted and trying to start reading entirely too late at night. Once I had some time and wasn’t so tired, I tore through it relatively quickly and happily, had that ‘can’t put it down’ feeling that I absolutely love to have. I enjoyed Steven’s bit of rebellion, his grudging decision to knuckle down and do his job and finally, his acceptance of what he must do, despite the way responsibility has once again been thrust on him unasked for and unwanted.
Once again, Steven breaks the rules to save his love and that’s a touching addition. His tendency to want to physically touch Lissa whenever possible is a sweet reminder of how badly he wanted to touch her in book #1 but was unable to do so, else he pomp her and send her spirit to Hell. His love for Lissa, I think, is a driving force for him to do what must be done to save the world and that bit of humanity that he’s hanging onto tooth and nail is one reason I’m so enamored of this story.
But I must also mention the humor. I found myself chuckling quite often while reading this book, as well as while reading book #1. Steven is a snarky, reluctant protagonist and I adore his dry sense of humor and various pop culture references. Jamieson has me hooked and I will anxiously await the release of the next book in the series, The Business of Death, due out in September of this year. Come oooonn, September!
“When did you last reply to one of my invitations on Facebook, or comment on an update? You’re not even following me on Twitter.” ~Death
‘We saved each other. Whether it was the right thing or not, it was the only thing either of us would have done. And hang the consequences.’
‘I see stars, literally all sorts of unnerving constellations. Aquarius-today you will have the shit beaten out of you, dope. Dress for wet weather, and probable death.’
‘I feel like I’m an out-take of Highlander. “There can only be one,” I mumble.’