Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Date with Death by Scott Colby
Series: Deviant Magic #1
Published by Outland Entertainment on January 5, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When twenty-something Kevin Felton loses his job and moves back in with his mother, he assumes life can't possibly get any worse. He used to be somebody at a big time company—now he's just another nobody with no direction and nothing to do but get drunk and fantasize over the strange blue woman that lives in his dreams. Little does he know, there’s more to his world than he ever imagined, and he’s about to be thrown headfirst into a particularly deadly kind of fantasy.
Things start to look up when Kevin stumbles into a wild romance with the woman he thought was just a dream, a water nymph with a magical and mysterious past. There's just one problem: his new lover left a fiancé at the altar, and that man just happens to be Death himself. In a desperate attempt to save his own life, Kevin—alongside Driff, an elven secret agent with questionable loyalties, and Ren, a longtime friend who knows more than he's letting on—befriends the reaper and must find a way to hook Death up with someone new before his own role in events comes to light.
A Date With Death has a really cool premise. Kevin has lost his job and moved home to his small town to figure things out. A girl he thought was just a fantasy, someone he saw in his dreams, he discovers is real. Nella used to be engaged to Death and she left him at the alter once she realized Kevin was back in town. A depressed Death has stopped taking souls and is on Strike. Kevin is tasked by the magic community to fix this issue.
Let’s talk about the cool stuff in the book:
There is an interesting dynamic in the world. A magical community that includes elves, demons, pixies, water nymphs, grim reapers and much more. There seems to be some hierarchy and structure to it and general rules for that community.
The town Kevin lives in, has some quirky characters and Kevin’s mom is a trip. She was a holy roller that at one point sprays some of the people in town with a super soaker filled with holy water. Later she has something of a midlife crisis and well, goes on a bender of sorts.
The idea of finding Death a new girl so he isn’t so bummed about losing Nella and will get back on the soul reaping train so that the people in the sleepy little community start to die again.
What the book could have done better in my opinion:
Sometimes this felt a little all over the place. There is a lot of competing things happening. Kevin’s best friend being part of the reason that he may have lost his job. Kevin’s ex-girlfriend showing up in his town. The entire demon angle and being kidnapped by a magical creature. It seemed like there could have been 2 separate stories that both could have been perhaps streamlined a little better.
The love story is a bit rushed. Kevin and Nella might be a good match but it is difficult to connect to them since she is just the girl he thought was a dream. We meet her, find out she is real and then he spends a lot of the book speaking of how much he cares about her. They really didn’t get much page time together. I think that the reader might have benefitted from a few flashbacks to their time together and how they fell in love.
It tool me awhile to finish the book and that could have just been because I was distracted by both the holidays and current events, but my engagement level definitely wasn’t as engaged as I normally am. I might give the next book in this series a try to see if some of the set ups from this book pay off.
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