Tuesday 30 November 2010

MANAGING DEATH by Trent Jamieson

Steven has a new job Australia's Regional Death. On a good day he thinks it has a ring to it, but on a bad day (most of them) it's more of a toll.

He s recently averted a Regional Apocalypse, but that s only the beginning. With barely a month to go until the world s thirteen Deaths get together to talk, erm, death, a crisis is imminent Stirrer attacks are on the rise as their dark god draws near; someone is trying to kill him; he s developed a drinking problem. And he has a conference to organise. Steven must start managing Death before it starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than regional.

I was really looking forward to reading the second book of the Death Works series. So as soon as I received it, I got stuck into it. And let me start by saying that it didn't disappoint. :) 

Steven de Selby used to be a Pomp. Well, he can still pomp the dead, but now he's a whole lot more... and he's not adapting well.

A few months have passed since the events of Death Most Definite. He might have helped stop a Regional Apocalypse, but things are still not going well in Brisbane. It's December, and now that Steven is in charge, he has a whole lot of responsibility. He has to recruit new Pomps, rebuild the Australian division of Mortmax Industries, and learn how to use/adapt to his new power/s. All of this while trying to come to terms with what he's become, learn the ropes, and work at his new relationship with Lissa.

Of course, that would be easier if people weren't always trying to kill him...

Now all of his Pomps are being overworked, and he's having trouble sleeping. Well, he does manage to spend a little time lost in nightmares filled with imagery of death, a scythe, and the excitement that comes with it.

Then, there's the Death Moot to organise, because the world's Death (thirteen RMs called the Orcus) are meeting in Brisbane and it's no easy task dealing with the Caterers.

His drinking doesn't help. Steven's life is slowly slipping away from him but with the appearance of an old Mortmax foe and the Stirrer god slowly rising, he's forced to take the role of leadership seriously, which includes accepting an alliance with an unlikely source. One that's guaranteed to drive a deeper wedge in his relationship. 

With so much going on, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Steven. It was also great to see Lissa, Tim, Wal, and Alex again. Oh, and I really enjoyed reading about the gradual deteoration of his relationship with Lissa. While she's been worked to the bone and he's adapting, they struggle to keep things together. That their relationship began under such bizarre and fast circumstances, only makes the reality of it all so much easier to come between them.

Managing Death is an amazingly awesome read. It's fast-paced, filled with secrets, double crossing, and a world of Death that keeps expanding. The truths of what the Regional Managers really are/do is gradually revealed, and boy was it awesome. It's unique, very well explained, and leads to an unbelievable (and fantastic) conclusion. I certainly did not see that coming. I love the worldbuilding in this series!  

Things might not end on a bright note, but Steven's life (or is that death) will never be the same. Bring on the next book...

Managing Death: Death Works #2, December 2010, ISBN 9780733624841, Orbit Paperback

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