This book wasn’t on my 2023 to-read list. However, it is a book that social media made me read, fulfilling one of my BINGO squares. But did I like it? Keep reading to find out!
Sign Here is the debut novel by author Claudia Lux… and honestly, whatever her day job was before she wrote this novel, she should probably keep it. But we’ll get into that in a moment! Warning: This review could possibly contain spoilers, so don’t read it if you’re interested in reading this book. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
The premise of the book: Peyote Trip works in the Deals Department on the Fifth Floor of Hell. He needs one last member of the Harrison family to sign their soul over to him. With the help of his new co-worker Calamity, he sets a plan into motion to get that last soul. Meanwhile on Earth, the Harrison family goes on a family vacation dealing where the past disrupts the present, secrets are revealed, and consequences must be faced.
Why I’ve given this book a ⭐️ rating: I had read a snippet of this book online and from what I had read, I was really excited to read it… and then I started reading it and that excitement quickly went away. I understand the fear a debut writer might have that this may be the only book they ever get to publish, so they want to make the most of it that they can, but the author crammed in too much.
To start with, we have too many POVs going on. And yes, while authors like George R.R. Martin have successfully managed to do multiple POVs and keep it interesting, this book failed to do that. We had the POVs of almost the entire Harrison family, and for the most part, they just served to tell us the backstory. And with two of the characters being married, we basically get the same backstory just from their different perspectives, which I don’t feel was needed.
The father in this story, Silas, was basically a pedophile with thoughts border lining on incestuous pedophilia. He watches his daughter’s friend Ruth shower in their outdoor bathroom and has thoughts about joining her. There are many other times that he’s around Ruth that he makes questionable choices. It never goes so far as him inappropriately grabbing her or sex, but what he does is enough to make the reader go ew. The thoughts he as about his daughter aren’t like the ones he has about Ruth, but they’re still questionable. Silas is a huge part of the reason why this book made me feel icky after reading it.
Peyote is also a very unlikable characters. In the end we find out why Peyote needed a certain number of Harrison family souls and though his reason is one that makes sense, the reveal comes way too late for the reader to care anymore. I was so exhausted with all the characters by the end of this book that I felt nothing when Peyote got his last soul.
His partner/cohort/foil to his plan Calamity is absolutely terrible and I daresay one of the worst written characters I have ever encountered. The book spends a lot of time talking about Calamity’s backstory, which is one of the most confusing and muddled backstories I have ever read in my life. I had more questions about her backstory than I did with Peyote’s and I don’t feel like any of them were clearly answered.
In short- This novel was two stories mashed together to try and make one cohesive story… and it majorly failed on the cohesive part. There was too much backstory for almost all of the characters. Personally, I feel the author should have made this a trilogy- first about the Harrison family, second about Peyote and Calamity, and third, bringing these two stories together where the reader can actually follow along and clearly understand the motivation of each character.
I could go on and on about why I disliked this book so much, but I don’t feel like bashing it any further would do anyone any good. To sum up this review- I don’t recommend this book. If you still decide to read it, check it out of your local library so if you end up hating it, you didn’t waste your money (like I did with The Library of the Dead… still salty about that one).
Have you read any books recently that you didn’t like? I would love to know! I hope everyone has a great weekend!
I’ll be sure to give this one a miss.
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