cover image Masters of Death

Masters of Death

Olivie Blake. Tor, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-89246-1

BookTok sensation Blake (The Atlas Six) uses a motley supernatural cast to explore themes of love and sacrifice in this irreverent but occasionally tedious tale narrated by Death itself. (Death, it turns out, is “fantastically verbose, and transcendently literate.”) Viola Marek is a realtor (and a vampire) trying to sell a haunted mansion. The only one able to see the specter in question, Viola discovers an unsolved murder and a family curse tying said ghost to the house. To solve the mystery, she’ll need help from angels, a grim reaper, demons, a demigod, a siren, and a vampire. Meanwhile, Death mocks them all. The large cast proves an impediment to the plot, with the whodunit taking a while to find its footing as all are introduced. Death’s attempts at snarky humor also slow the pace, making the narration clunky and often redundant. Still, the surprisingly somber ending will have readers contemplating the costs of love and the power of facing one’s demons. It’s not perfect, but Blake’s fans and readers looking for a sassy paranormal mystery will find plenty to enjoy.[em] (Aug.) [/em]