on September 25th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to Damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home. To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
THIS is how you successfully avoid Second Book Syndrome. There is no need for those filler books in between the introduction and the finale. You can perfectly add a second book to your trilogy without losing your pace, your integrity, and everything your readers fell in love with in the first place. And Scorch manages to do that beautifully.
Case in point: even though Lex has been through a lot, she’s still the same:
“You look slammin’,” Elysia told Lex. “That shirt is gorgeous on you.”
“This is not a shirt. This is a napkin with armholes.”
“You look sophisticated.”
“I look like a clown whore.”
And still hilarious and awesome. Lex is quite possibly my favourite main character of the year. Meeting her was such a breath of fresh air: she’s not afraid to say what she thinks, and she’s absolutely badass, and I’d probably be terrified of her if she were real, but I’d also love her to bits (you know, from afar).
As is her boyfriend, Driggs. They had this really funny and awkward relationship developing in the first book, and we see them expand on that now.
“Hope you’re okay with boyfriend-girlfriend-leniency rules not applying here,” he told her.
“Hope you’re okay with getting your ass kicked.”
There’s still the friendship and playfulness between the two, but as their relationship progresses, we see them really falling in love, and I thought that was really cute. Although we also see them struggling quite a lot with their teenage hormones, while Uncle Mort was doing everything in his power to avoid any hanky panky underneath his roof. Hilarity ensues.
“And if I hear any article of clothing being unzipped, unstrapped, unhooked, or unbuckled, you will lose the body part that it corresponds to. Understand?”
Mort, you beautiful bastard. I’m so glad you made a comeback in this book. I’ve missed you.
There’s a lot of drama in this book, granted. Scorch is basically the “Everybody Hates Lex” show. But I was okay with that, because the author makes damn sure to infuse a more-than-healthy amount of humour into her story, making me smile and laugh like a lunatic. It’s just magnificent to have a seemingly standard YA story and then have it turn out so differently in all the right ways. I love it when a story can make me laugh.
The Afterlife is still one of my favourite locations. Edgar Allan Poe is still the morose author we left behind last time, and people still hide his cane and throw things at him. On top of that, King Tut is also in the Afterlife. He’s a teenage boy with shining skin who can bench-press a camel and calls Lex a peasant. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
If you haven’t picked up this series yet, do it. You will be rewarded with an awesome story, with a kick-ass main character, but also with a lot of side characters who are weird and lovely in their own ways, and who will make you laugh almost constantly until the very last page.