Release Date: November 15th, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Gothic
Series: The Undertaken #1
Cover: A- I actually love it. I think it captures the story well, but it doesn't really catch my eye. I think S&S did a great job. This was a difficult book to come up with a cover for.
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Death Watch by Ari Berk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.
One night, Silas Umber's father Amos doesn’t come home from work. Devastated, Silas learns that his father was no mere mortician but an Undertaker, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands, the states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town where Silas was born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles.
Even as Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. When Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.
Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father—no matter the cost.
I love going into reading a book with literally no expectations. I'm starting to learn that this is the best way to go about it. Unfortunately for me as a blogger, it is very difficult for me to stay out of the loop when it comes to a book that everyone is talking about. And I automatically know when a book is getting a ton of hype. The reviews say so. You'll find a post about it on every single blog you come across. Fortunately for me, this never happened with Death Watch. I'm not sure it would have changed anything if it had, but I'm glad it didn't. And I gotta say, I'm kind of shocked. If any book deserves crazy hype and buzz, it's this one.
Simply put, this was one of the most original and atmospheric reads I have come across this year. The writing is gorgeous. The descriptive passages are out of this world. And the characters? Oh. My. God. They were so lively and animated and each one had their own voice and it was an amazing thing to watch unfold. The town of Lichport was by itself a character. Most of the characters in this book weren't even living.
You all know how important world-building and setting depth is for me. I can't rate a book 5 stars if I can't picture it and believe I am there. Well let me just tell you that the setting in this story was clearly 5 star. I had a map in my mind of what the town looked like. It was fantastic. And the mythology? I don't know if any of it was factual of not and I really don't care. It blew me away. That's all you need to know. Some of the things you will find in this book? Ghosts, funerals, undead corpses (not zombies, you'll see when you read it), a ghost ship, and so much more.
Now before you go and read this book and then yell at me and tell me you didn't like it, there are a few things you should know. This book is not for everyone. It is I would say, paced fairly slowly. It's not boring, but if you are looking for Divergent pacing, look elsewhere. There are a lot of descriptive passages. Some people hate this. I would like to tell these people to stay far far away from the books that I love. Not because I don't respect your opinion, it's just that our tastes are going to be extremely different. I happen to think the descriptive passages only add to the story.
And there is a great story here. It's a coming of age story, but in a way that you have never seen presented before. It is about a teenage boy taking over his father's footsteps in a profession that is a bit...unconventional. His father is an undertaker, which is not what you think it is really. He's also missing. His uncle is psychotic. His mom is a drunk. And his great-great-great grandfather is still alive. Sort of. Does that pique your interest? If not, tell me so, and I will quit writing reviews. But first, you must read this book.
To pre-order a copy of Death Watch by Ari Berk, click here: Death Watch (Undertaken Trilogy).
Final note: This is a great book for guys and girls of all ages.