The Undertaken #1
author : ari berk
pages [hardcover] : 544
favorite characters: bee & amos
They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.One night, Silas Umber’s father Amos doesn’t come home from work. Devastated, Silas learns that his father was no mere mortician but an Undertaker, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands, the states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town where Silas was born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles. Even as Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. When Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead. Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father—no matter the cost.
Death Watch was a long book and it felt like one, too. But the interesting characters, fantastic world building, and intricate setting all kept my interest. I wanted to find his dad as much as he did. Maybe not with the same motives. I wanted answers and lots of them. About the death watch, the history of the town as well as the family. I wanted to know what secrets everyone was holding and what danger he was in. And little by little a lot was revealed. Though there was still much left to be desired in the end, which will keep reading the rest of the trilogy.
I was annoyed that everyone seemed to know more than him and yet wouldn’t tell him a lot. Even if it would end up being beneficial to him and possibly end up saving his life. A lot of seemingly stupid things he does could have been prevented this way.
I’m not sure if the whole love interest part of it will continue but I had a love/hate relationship with that as well. It was creepy, then sweet, then helped him to feel less lonely. I liked it in the end, but it still seemed like something randomly thrown together now that I know we’ll get more information about later on.
I would recommend this for people who like adventure-esque ghost stories, slow paced but creepy plots, or anyone who doesn’t mind devoting a good chuck of time to a pretty interesting story.
LONG AND INTRIGING. 4/5 stars