Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 25th 2012
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.
To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
I'm in the really awkward position of having to go back a bit on what I have said earlier...I stand by my rating, but I think I may have been a little hard on Croak. Part of my strategy for savoring the new books I received over the holidays (and making them last a bit longer) was to first reread the earlier books in the series. Maybe it was that I already knew Lex at this point, but I didn't have the same feelings of disconnect from her that I did the first time I read Croak. I also think that, in working so hard to articulate what I didn't like about the book, I lost sight of just how humorous it really was. That humor not only carried over into Scorch, it was amplified tenfold!
Damico is progressing just as an author should -- everything positive I could or would have had to say about her debut novel holds true for Scorch; and much of what I found problematic about Croak was improved or removed this time around. Her previous awkwardness with writing intimacy wasn't an issue this time around. Nor were the occasional lulls in action or seemingly random plot developments present. The foreshadowing was very well done, as was the slow reveal of clues from Uncle Mort. (And I STILL say there is was more going on there than meets the eye. If we don't get our answers in Rogue, there had better be an Uncle Mort prequel!!) In fact, Scorch was a thoroughly enjoyable, fast, funny read from beginning to end.
I admit, I still found a bit of Damico's world to be highly absurd (basically everything about DeMyse, Leroy, and the rest of the DeMysian people was over the top absurd), but it fits her witty writing in a way that feels comfortable now. The Croak series is definitely shaping up to be one of my favorite new ya series for a light, funny read.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars ~ It was great! I might even re-read it.
Review also appears on Goodreads; I purchased my copy for Nook from Barnes and Noble, with a gift card from my Dad. Thanks Dad!