Categorized | Fiction

Three Days to Dead Review

Posted on January 31, 2011 by alanajoli

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    When Evy Stone wakes up in a morgue in a different body than the one she remembers, with no memory of the few previous days, she knows she’s in for a hell of a time. What she does remember is this: her teammates from her bounty hunting career were murdered, the were-people with whom she took asylum were slaughtered by her former bosses, and the only person she thought she could trust was her handler. She has to make contact, convince him that she’s still Evy (despite the new body), and avoid being entangled in the life of the girl who used to live in this frame. Not to mention, as she discovers more about the reasons she ended up in a new body, saving the world. All in a three day time frame. But hey, she’s been through worse. Probably.

    I’ve had this book on my shelves since it came out. I’d followed Kelly’s blog (I found her from the League of Reluctant Adults and felt an immediate kinship for her, since she’s a Whedon fan and lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I was married). She’s a fantastic blogger, and I was super excited to read her book… which promptly got buried in my TBR pile. Finally, with the second book now on bookstore shelves, I decided it was the time, now or never. I didn’t give myself a three day time limit, but I did sit down and read — and gotreally frustrated when I couldn’t just keep reading until everything came together. Kelly crafted a really compelling story with a great — if prickly — narrator, and a really great, but only barely romantic, love story. (It’s more a deepening of friendship romantic love than a hot, loin-burning, kick off your clothes type romantic love. While I enjoy the latter, this particular version of the former was really well done.)

    Kelly structured the story around a count-down. We, the reader, know from the beginning that Evy’s got a limited amount of time before she has to give up the body and get on with her afterlife. When Evy finds out — and starts to remember just why she died — it’s like she gets hit with a ton of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, right on her head. Almost all of the characters are suffering from some type of loss, and that theme gets integrated throughout, whether it means people looking for revenge, people mourning, or just people being bitchy because they’re grieving. In Evy’s line of work — hunting Dregs, or creatures of the night, like half-vampires and goblins — loss is inevitable, and the characters deal with it (or don’t, which is just as compelling) with just the right amount of suffering so that it doesn’t bog down the narration, but it does give the world depth, and meaning.

    And aside from all that emotional draw, there are really awesome trolls. Really. I would read these books just for Smedge. But Kelly works in interesting takes on gargoyles, fae, elves, weres, and vampires as well — the major creatures are all there, but none of them quite line up to the usual expectations. And from the teaser in the back for the sequel, there’s even more complexity in the Dreg world than Three Days to Dead lets on.

    On the one hand, I’m really bummed I waited this long to read this novel. On the other hand, I get to read book 2 immediately thereafter. Instant gratification for the win!

    Review by Alana Abbott

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