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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 09/2023
  • 979-8-9892770-0-1 B0CK6ZLNJW
  • 231 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2024
  • 979-8-9892770-1-8 B0CRHK1NCB
  • 229 pages
  • $9.99
Pip Paisley
Author
Always Carry Your Scythe
Pip Paisley, author
Trixie D’Vita didn’t scythe. That was Mom’s gig. Then the Angel Investigative Bureau (AIB) turned up at Aunt Harry’s bar. Seemed the hottest afterlife gameshow in the Mystical Realms was misappropriating newly-departed souls. And Death was a person of interest. When the AIB can’t find Death, they come looking for Trixie, Death’s estranged daughter. Soon Trixie's best friend is in dire peril. An AIB trainee is traipsing towards trouble. And Trixie, armed with nothing but a pocket-scythe, is plunging headfirst into the gaping maw of a trans-dimensional vortex. So not the evening she’d planned. Skittle-colored demons. Werewolf drag queens. Hellhound-doodle puppies. Lots of scythe. All in this rollicking, whimsical, empowering adventure.
Reviews
Paisley combines a playful concept of the afterlife with a hint of Buddhism in this otherworldly contemporary fantasy, where humans and supernatural beings—vampires, werewolves, witches, gargoyles, pixies, and more—are reincarnated after death until their souls are finally deemed worthy of passage to Heaven by the Higher Authority. Maybell Mayhew, an Angel Investigative Bureau trainee, confronts Trixie D'Vita about the possible involvement of her mother, Death, in the Mystical Realms' suspiciously rigged game show that offers a one-way ticket to Heaven, Hell, or a different lifetime for newly departed souls. Soon, Trixie finds herself faced with a perilous choice: to save her best friend, she must not just visit the game show, To the Wheel, but quite literally go through Hell.

The heart of the tale lies in the complex mother-daughter relationship between Trixie and Death, which proves amusingly relatable amid the fantastical settings. Trixie's unhealed abandonment issues from Death's aloofness and seeming nonchalance bring a human touch to all the crossings of realms, although the exploration of Death's persona here feels somewhat limited, perhaps to be explored more deeply in future stories. "Like, would it kill my mom to make it to my frickin’ birthday dinner?” Trixie asks, her words echoing the struggle for connection. Better late than never, Death bestows upon Trixie a mysterious miniature scythe—as a birthday gift!—and warns her to carry it with her at all times.

What follows is an action-packed comic trip through hellscapes where Trixie must survive on the other side of the vortex, one that tests the power of friendship to will courage in the face of adversity. Although the story could benefit from a more robust exploration of family and friendship dynamics, Paisley prioritizes world-building and adventure written in lively prose and imaginative storytelling, always with elements of surprise and humanity that readers of inventive urban fantasy metaphysics will find alluring.

Takeaway: Death's daughter goes through Hell to save a friend in this amusing debut.

Comparable Titles: Seanan Mcguire’s October Daye series, M. H. Boroson's The Girl with Ghost Eyes.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Kirkus Reviews

"The mixture of surreal comedy, mythology, and memorable characters makes for a winning combination that will surely have fans eagerly awaiting a sequel...GET IT" Kirkus Reviews

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 09/2023
  • 979-8-9892770-0-1 B0CK6ZLNJW
  • 231 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2024
  • 979-8-9892770-1-8 B0CRHK1NCB
  • 229 pages
  • $9.99
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