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★★★★★

“Shinigami ”

Written on: 21/09/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Shinigami
Django Wexler
Medallion, Oct 2006, $14.99
ISBN: 1932815716

Sixteen years Lina was driving the car with her fourteen year old sister Sylph sitting in the passenger seat when the old man stepped in front of their vehicle. Lina tried to avoid him, but the car crashed leaving both Walker sisters dead. However, instead of going on to heaven, they end up in a cave of sorts.

Frightened, the siblings step out of the hole in the ground into this strange landscape. Lina picks up a glowing sword and soon fights a female warrior. Word spreads that a woman has a magical sword and soon the ruling Archmagi, who dominate Omega, demand she provide it to them her or else. Sylph and Lina flee for their lives though they do not understand what that means having died once when they lived on earth. With no recourse, the siblings join the rebel Circle Breakers with the group insisting that Lina is their Liberator, who will free them. At about the same time fourteen earth years old Sylph, with no military or any fighting experience except sisterly squabbles, is named warleader and put in charge of the rebel forces just before they are to bring the war to the Archmagi. Losses on both sides will only "feed" the Lightbringer yet confrontation is imminent and neither sister feels confident they can do the job.

SHINIGAMI (A Japanese legend somewhat equivalent to the Grim Reaper) is a fascinating fantasy that takes quite a sardonic view on the afterlife. The story line in some ways is a coming of age tale as the two siblings have to grow up fast when their deaths lead incongruously to life threatening situations on a world in which magic not science dominates. Readers will appreciate this complex ironic look at life after death on Omega.

Harriet Klausner

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