DNF ARC Review: SAINT DEATH’S DAUGHTER by C. S. E. Cooney

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on line drawing of hair piled up on black
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: DNF at 25%
Series: yes - first book

Synopsis:

Book cover for SAINT DEATH'S DAUGHTER: title in white on brown line art hair on black

Life gets complicated when Death gets involved.

To be born into a family of royal assassins pretty much guarantees that your life is going to be… rather unusual. Especially if, like Miscellaneous “Lanie” Stones, you also have a vicious allergy to all forms of violence and bloodshed, and an uncanny affinity for bringing the dead back to life.

To make matters worse, family debt looms – a debt that will have to be paid sooner rather than later if Lanie and her sister are to retain ownership of the ancestral seat, Stones Manor. Lanie finds herself courted and threatened by powerful parties who would love to use her worryingly intimate relationship with the goddess of death for their own nefarious ends. But the goddess has other plans…

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

This book was just too weird for me, and the start had too many names and rambled too much for me to ever sink into it, so I put it down.

It’s a very quirky style, just bizarre in a way that I found hard to engage with. Others will doubtless love it, but I just found it too weird. It’s hard to explain it because it is such a personal “I did not get on with this, it felt like it was meant to be engaging and funny but I didn’t find it that way.”

There are a lot of words and names and ideas tossed at you at the start, most of which aren’t properly explained for a while. Like then all having nicknames on top of full names like “Abandon Hope,” which made it feel like there were even more people to keep track of (despite most of them being dead, and thus not actually around, but just a lot of backstory to get through.) Plus it took ages to understand what Miscellaneous’ “allergy to violence” meant. Once a lot of that stacks up, it’s very hard to follow what’s happening.

It sometimes goes on tangents, or I couldn’t work out if I was on a tangent or in the moment. There are footnotes too, which aren’t my favourite thing. They didn’t feel like they added anything other than a new tangent to follow. It didn’t add to the world building, just distracted from what was happening.

The main character also felt rather more of an observer than someone active, with goals, someone I could root for. I have no idea what she wanted, and she didn’t really do anything, just watched her sister manipulate people to try solve the issues, rather than getting involved herself. And she wasn’t even frustrated and not helping.

It all combined into something I was struggling to follow. I didn’t much fancy reading the other ~450 pages given how little I was interested in the characters or their goals.

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