Review: Affairs of the Dead by A.J. Locke

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files #1)Series: The Reanimation Files #1
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 25th 2013
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: "Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die..."
Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she's bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible--if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene's partner, didn't pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.
But when the whole mess puts Selene's life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan's body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don't follow the rules...
First Line: "I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging but not impossible."

I'll be honest with you guys about the reason I decided to pick this book up. I haven't read a good paranormal book with a sassy heroine in a long time and one look at the cover confirmed for me that this was the perfect book to restart on. I know, I know, judging a book by its cover is a really bad idea, however this time it really did pay off. Selene was just as sassy as the cover model suggested she would be and the novel had the satisfying mixture of romance and action that I expect from a good urban fantasy. From the moment I read the first line I knew this book was for me. The reason I always include the first line in my reviews is that it is so important for the reader to be grabbed right away. This doesn't have to be through action or humour, it can also simply be from language style or plot set up. Affairs of the Dead nailed it, I like a book that fills me with questions from the start and slowly reveals all and A.J. Locke succeeded here. I doubt many of you who enjoy the genre are able to read that first line and be satisfied not knowing what comes next.

It has been such a long time since I actually prefered the female protagonist of the story to the male one. It is a fact that most books that are aimed at women very much focus on the male protagonist because the trick to gaining a fanbase is having all the women fall totally in love with the main male character. I am in no way complaining about this device, I love falling for a new guy every time I pick up a book, however the problem many authors come across is in focusing so much on this male character, the female protagonist winds up underdeveloped. I almost wrote that this device is reversed in Affairs of the Dead but that would be to suggest that the male protagonist was underdeveloped which is certainly not the case. You can tell that Selene is the main focus of the story, she is sassy, hilarious, independant but also sweet and kind, the kind of multifaceted personality you would expect from the traditional male love interest. She is a heroine so skillfully crafted that you can both admire and relate to her. There are various male protagonists in the novel and every one of them is just as developed. Ethan is absolutely adorable, like the younger brother we all wish we had, and Micah is just lovely, somewhat aloof to begin with but that's exactly what you would expect. You don't just automatically become comfortable with someone right away after all. Locke's characters are both likable and realistic in a balance that many authors just cannot manage.

Affairs of the Dead is not your traditional ghost story. A.J. Locke creates a world unlike anything I have seen before. The necromancers and the normal people coexist peacefully, the ghosts are no secret they are a fact of life. I really think the deviation from the norm of the ghost world being shrouded in secrets works well here. Locke creates a world that we can actually imagine existing that operates almost exactly like ours with the exception of us lacking a necromancer network. Overall, I really loved this book and was gripped from start to end, which was rather inconvenient given that I started it in one of my busiest periods! Locke incorporates both light fun and serious, heartrending events masterfully. I would recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in the genre, or those who are bored of bland characters, because once you start you just can't stop turning the pages.

Look out for my review of Requiem for the Living, book 2 in the Reanimation Files, coming very soon!

Tell me what you thought of my review in the comments and while you're here please check out all my active giveaways in order to find gems just like this one! 

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