The Death Catchers (review)
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Reviewed by
Kogler, Jennifer Anne. The Death Catchers. Walker, 2011. [384p]. ISBN 978-0-8027-2184-6 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-9.

Lizzy Mortimer is in danger of failing her freshman English class if she does not hand in some sort of final project. So, in one very long letter to her English teacher utilizing key curricular terms such as "foreshadowing" and "irony," Lizzy decides to tell the truth behind her missing assignment, starting with the moment that her grandmother informed her that she is a Death Catcher, a descendent of Morgan le Faye with both the ability and the responsibility to help the sisters of Avalon maintain the balance of life and death in the world. Currently, that balance is being threatened by Vivienne le Mort, a rogue sister intent on destroying the last of Arthur Pendragon's line and ushering in a Doomsday scenario of world chaos and violence. It just so happens that Arthur's last descendent is the über-hot and ultra-cool Drake Westfall, and Lizzy has the task of saving him from certain death while maintaining the illusion of being an ordinary teenager. The letter-writing device works quite well and makes for an effective blend of elegant mythmaking and genial, homey storytelling. The weighty nature of the subject matter is balanced nicely by Lizzy's affable, irreverent tone and her not-so-subtle pokes at [End Page 527] literary puffery. There's a thoughtful subplot involving Lizzy and her mom and the burgeoning troubles of adolescence, a plotline that would seem superfluous if it did not blend so seamlessly into a story about a girl coming into her own power both as a magical being and as an everyday mortal. The romance between Lizzy and Drake is sweet, and the promise for its development in the sequels, along with Drake's future role as king, will surely bring readers back to another visit to Avalon.

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