“Keturah and Lord Death” Review

I just finished reading Keturah and Lord Death, a Young Adult novel about a girl who gets lost in the woods.  When she can’t find her way back, she sits against a tree and waits to die.  When Death comes for her, she realizes that she wants to keep on living and uses her storytelling ability to convince him to give her one more day – a day in which she must find her true love and save her town.  There is a bit more to it than that, but I won’t give it away.

There were a few things I really liked about this book.  I enjoyed the premise of a girl able to talk to death and Death as a character rather than an abstract concept.  I also liked the way that this book deal with issues around death, like sorrow and grief of those left behind and the relationships that we all, as humans, have with death.  At times the prose was inspired and elevated the book.

There were a few things that I didn’t really like about the book, including the use of first person.  Many YA novels tend to use first person, but I’ve never been a fan of it.  I feel like it places a lot of limitations on the story, especially when the character is an adolescent.  I always feel like first person holds the story back from really blossoming.  I felt the same way with The Hunger Games, and actually really enjoyed the way the movie was able to expand the world because it was no longer in that first person confines.

I also found that the virtue of this book was in the language and thoughts around death, but not in the outcome.  The story was good, but somewhat predictable and there were moments that felt contrived.  Overall, as measured against other books in the genre, I would give it a 3.5.  Definitely above average, and worth a read (it’s a short one).


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