ARC Review: Under the Whispering Door

AHHH SO MANY TEARS.

Wallace Price is dead, and a jerk. When his reaper, Mei, comes to collect him, Wallace can’t believe his fate. But then he meets Hugo, the man who will guide him into the life beyond. What starts as a tenuous tolerance of Hugo at first soon blooms into something like friendship. With the assistance of Nelson (a ghost) and Apollo (a ghost dog), Wallace goes on an unforgettable journey of finding meaning in both life and death.

This was such a poignant story, wow. I loved Wallace’s growth. I thought at times it was a bit extreme, and if Wallace were a living person it would definitely have been unbelievable. But I think the concept of being able to look back at his life and see his own faults was very well done, and his development worked really nicely with the story. Mei was so super lovable, as was Hugo, as was Nelson. While Wallace was a cool character to see go on a journey, the other characters made the dialogue and events of the story really fun to read. Not to mention the amazing cool tea shop?? Hello, I would like to live at Charon’s Crossing forever please.

The plot itself meandered a bit, but I found I was surprisingly invested for such a character driven story. Usually, those bore me until the last pages. But this one had a certain magnetism that pulled me all the way through. The world of reapers and ferrymen was interesting, and I almost wish I could see more of it. What are the other ferrymen like? What is the Manager’s world like? and of course WHAT IS UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR?? While I had questions, it didn’t feel like anything was left out of the story.

Of course, there is the message. I really liked that it wasn’t left vague what Wallace thought the purpose of life/death ended up being. And while I won’t put it here so that you all can go on a journey with him, I thought the message itself was satisfying. My only complaint would be that I thought some of the conversation about acceptance of death/the meaning/the journey got a biiiit repetitive. But really, everything else was amazing.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to cry, or wants a sweet romance, or witty characters. Definitely going to read T.J. Klune’s other works!

Happy Reading (:

Rating: 4.5/5
Pacing: medium
Intended audience: adult (but fine for YA)
Content warnings: discussion of suicide, grief, and death, death as a central theme

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