Tuesday, June 25, 2013

REVIEW: The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm

The Big Reap The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book 3 was a game changer much to my enjoyment.

+ the characters

Sam finally made full use of his power as a Collector by choosing to ride living people as his meat suit. In previous books, his modus operandi was to ride the recently deceased because he wanted to avoid embroiling the living, i.e. the innocents, in his business of Hell. Now, he had few qualms in using the living, selectively of course, to accomplish his missions, and he didn’t wallow in useless emotions when bad things happen out of his control as they often do in his job. He became the formidable hunter a Collector was always meant to be, and I was elated.

Essentially, Sam realized some of his idealist principles weren’t working out and that he needed to be practical about things. He recognized that being practical didn’t mean being ruthless and in effect a sociopath. Sam still helped the innocents whenever he could but when they didn’t listen and did stupid things that got them killed he didn’t kick himself over it.

Sam was smart and fierce. Admittedly, he did have a moment or two of stupid, especially in the beginning when he accepted a ride from a stranger, something a kid knows not to do. However, he more than made up for it by kicking one Brethren’s ass after another throughout the book by use of ingenuity. The Brethren were deadly villains but Sam turned the table on them. I loved how it was the Brethren, for all their powers, who were doing the running away and hiding.

One of my favorite scenes was when Sam had the cunning to call for backup and counter-trapped the trappers. Undead Gio and his human transexual blind girlfriend Theresa from book 2 returned! Holy hell! I was amazed that Gio was still alive/undead considering the fact that was he was a rotting corpse. And Theresa, she was still as bold as ever. I loved how the gang, along with another surprise of a character, briefly reunited to do another round of asskicking.

Lilith also had a part in the book, a major one that went beyond her role as Sam’s handler and occasional assistant in asskicking. How things resolved at the end with her was bittersweet, and I have to say God is such an asshole. If there was a character who was the real wicked mastermind, it wasn’t Simon or Grigori or predictably Lilith; it was God.

+ the plot

Similar to previous books, book 3 irregularly shifted in its timeline, cycling from the present to the recent past of how the present came to be and to the far past of where it all started. The far past took reader back to Sam’s first mission as a newly pressed Collector and his first meeting with Lilith. I really liked how for Sam’s first mission he had to take Hitler’s soul. It was one of the many things in which the book used history to embellish its urban fantasy world building.

I generally despise flashbacks and this series has been no different, but for the first time in the series, I didn’t despise them in book 3. The flashbacks had Lilith and Hitler and Nazis! In previous books, the flashbacks interrupted the flow of suspense and bored me. In book 3, they contributed to the suspense and I was rapt.

The series continued its affair with sobering endings. As usual, Sam’s future was left in the air. However, because of how much I enjoyed book 3, the ending didn’t get on my nerves like usual.

In Conclusion

I rate The Big Reap 3-stars for I liked it. Book 2 fell short of my liking, but book 3 caught up and then some more. I found it amusing how while all these things with Sam in the present were happening, the on-going apocalypse, which commenced in book 2, served as the backdrop in book 3.

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