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Near DeathNear Death
M. B. Mulhall
Young Adult – Paranormal
Self-published
December 2011
Kindle e-book

So far the count is: Aya 2 – Death 0, but that’s a record that may be broken in the very near future.

The shy 16-year-old loner and her little brother narrowly escape being flattened by a bus when Gabriel, a classmate, is warned by a mysterious green-eyed boy of Aya’s impending demise. He races to her aid, not only saving her life but bringing with him new friends, his twin Marisol and best bud, Jackson.

The green-eyed boy, Christoph, is actually an Angel of Death banished back to earth. They don’t quite know what to make of him. Christoph saved Aya because she reminded him of a long lost love, but when he finds it hard to assimilate to modern time will he want to finish the job of crossing her over in an attempt to get back to where he came from?

Danger escalates when Gabriel’s jealous ex, Sara, tries to win him back, her antics turning from annoying to potentially deadly; another Angel of Death appears spouting ominous and cryptic messages and secrets both Jackson and Marisol harbour threaten to tear the friends apart. They must put differences behind them and come clean because Aya may be running on borrowed time. If so, Death may win the game.

General Comments

From the moment I read the book description I knew I would like this book and I was not disappointed. While far from perfect, Near Death was one of those books that reminded me that perfect writing, beautifully developed characters, or a kickass storyline are not the only determinants of a great story. Another equally important component is the writer’s ability to connect with their readers on an emotional  level and that’s where Near Death won me over.

Critical Review

Near Death was a story about friendship, love, compulsion, and madness. I know it makes it sound heavy and a little dark but that’s far from the truth. While death is a big topic, the story really follows the characters as they form a deep friendship with Aya, in addition to learning to decipher their feelings for each other. While it may not be the most original of storylines, it is most definitely refreshing and thought-provoking.

Written in third person from an omniscient narrator from the perspective of several characters. While the writing was not superb, the book maintained a good flow, and employed powerful imagery. Something about the writing put me in mind of anime and for the entire book, I saw everything playing out just before my eyes, even as I was reading.

In all honesty, none of the characters stood out to me. They weren’t particularly well-developed but they were all extremely likeable and I found myself getting particularly attached to them and becoming invested in their lives. Who wouldn’t like sweet, shy Aya and the extremely thoughtful Gabriel? Who could resist the pretty boy that is Jackson and the athletic and sassy Marisol? And who wouldn’t start to hate Sara? Somehow, without employing traditional or widely accepted methods, the author created a beautiful cast of characters who I was able to connect with from the very first moments.

There were a ton of things that bothered me about this book. Over-use of adjectives, too much telling, not enough showing, and a few confusing scenes were just a few of the things I came across that troubled me. However, the book also managed to draw me in emotionally and it was easy to ignore the aforementioned flaws in favour of warm fuzzies and the promise of reading more.

Rating Conclusion

In the end, I’d have to give Near Death 3 out of 5 stars. Despite flaws, I could not put this book down

But wait! There’s more! You guys have the chance to win an e-book copy of Near Death. To enter the contest fill out the form, HERE. This contest is open internationally and closes on the 24th of February. The winner will be notified first by email and once they respond, an announcement will be made on the blog. If the individual chosen does not respond to the email within three days a new winner will be chosen. Check out the next stop on the tour tomorrow at Broken Nerves.

Good luck to you all and have a great day!

Kris.

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