Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on March 24, 2012 | 5 Comments

Review: Croak by Gina DamicoCroak by Gina Damico
Series: Croak #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin (3.2-.2012)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 311 pages
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

2 Stars

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

My thoughts

How did I feel about this book? Meh. That about covers it.

I couldn’t connect with Lex at all, and I didn’t particularly like her. It seemed like Gina was going for kick-ass heroine, but it didn’t work for Lex. She was unnecessarily violent to the point of being a bully. I didn’t find her ‘cool’ at all, I just felt like she tried to hard. Aside from being a bully, she was childish and selfish. While I did like her sarcasm, sometimes even that felt forced. I guess her badass attitude was supposed to be charming and endearing? It certainly wasn’t to me. Which is why I liked it at first when she went to Croak, because her bullying had no effect on Uncle Mort (who actually succeeded in being bad-ass without trying), and she didn’t get her way anymore.

As for the other characters, there were way too many of them. I could hardly tell the difference from one character to the next because they seemed all alike to me. They were uninspiring and lacked individual personalities. The names were all a blur of just that: names. Elysia, Ferbus, Kilda, Pandora, Corpp, Kloo, Sofi, Ayjay, Zara…there were just too many. And before you start to be proud of me for remember that many, don’t – I had to highlight them just to remember them all, ha.

There were also a lot of terms (most of which weren’t explained very well). Cull, Smacks, Crasher, Etceteras, Gammas. I got most of them eventually, but I still have no idea what Etceteras were. Honestly, I don’t think I was paying enough attention in the parts where it explained. I skimmed through some parts out of extreme boredom.

When it comes to paranormal books, I like it with the protag slowly comes into his/her abilities and realizing what they are. This one threw it all at you at once and it happened so fast I just ended up feeling detached. She has no idea about the world of Grims (Gamma Removal and Immigration Managers), then it’s all ‘Oh, BTW you’re a Grim! Congratulations!!’

There were still a few things I did like. Some of the word usage – like referring to the family jewels as ‘yarbles,’ Lex’s nickname ‘Tyrannosaurus Lex,’ Grimsphere, and Necropolis, and the menu items: Mad Cow Burger, E. Coli Cola, Salmo-Nilla Ice Cream. Tee hee! I did find the sarcastic humor amusing in most parts.
Jellyfish being able to detect fish was interesting. Really, the whole take on Grims was new and refreshing. I just didn’t like the delivery or any of the characters. I found it hard to care about anything, even the death of someone important in the end and the “twist” of the killer. Which frankly wasn’t shocking like it should have been.
My feelings toward it aren’t hate, just mild disinterest and boredom. Honestly, the only reaction the book got from me besides a snicker here and there was my disgusted outburst at the spider part. EEEK!!!! Nuh-uh. NUH-UH. Yeah. That was about it.

Favorite character: Driggs I guess. Not because I liked him as a character but for the simple fact that he had hetorochromia. :)

quotesMaybe this was one of those things that people should keep to themselves, like a hatred of baby pandas or a passion for polka music.

“You have no intention of befriending, do you?”
“I’d rather take a bath with a toaster.”

Lex sucked in a breath. Then she screamed. Then she swore very loudly. Seven hundred miles away, her mother unwittingly glanced at the money-filled jar in her kitchen for reasons she would never be able to ascertain.


Plot: 4/5
Writing style: 2.5/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 2 starfish
Not for me, but some of you may still like it.
Jessi (Geo)

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5 responses to “Review: Croak by Gina Damico

  1. Sam

    Thanks for the helpful review, Jessi. I should be starting this soon so I won’t set my expectations too high! It’s a shame the main character didn’t do it for you. :(

  2. What a shame. the plots sounded great and I see you gave that a 4 out of 5, and the covers cool. Such a shame when the characters and overall voice don’t deliver.
    Thanks for the review.

  3. Oh noo it’s such a shame this is a ‘meh’ book! It looked like it had potential! I am not so eager to read it now at all! The characters sound awful and I hate books that are poorly written! x

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