Forget about the recent vampire and werewolf craze. Concordia English professor Laird Stevens’ The Death Fairy brings to life a new breed of monster whose horror lies not in its physical threat but in the threat it poses on its victim’s mentality. Though she pushes her victim to the brink of suicide through nightmares, the death fairy is not only a girl’s worst enemy; she is also her mother who shares stories of her life through her daughter’s dreams. How about that for a dysfunctional family?
Asia’s mother committed suicide when she was just a little girl. Still, Asia considers her mother to be her best friend because she sees her almost every day in her dreams. When her father passes away years later, Asia is thrown into a depression where nightmares seize her and lead her to attempt suicide. Her only saving grace is her daughter, but Asia soon finds out that she may be a danger to her own child.
The Death Fairy’s plot seems to promise an interesting read and though the details of the story are captivating, the writing style confuses the reader. The majority of the novel is written in dialogue form and it is easy to get lost in the conversations. With such a great amount of dialogue coming from The Death Fairy’s main character, it begs the question why the book was not written from a first person point of view. Instead, Asia’s thoughts are stated aloud to whomever she is conversing with, making the dialogue seem artificial and without substance.
While the book is an easy read and a mere 181 pages, certain aspects of its narrative appear contrived. The fact that Asia visits a psychologist who turns out to have been her mother’s lover before she killed herself is hard for the reader to believe, as it is also too perfect that Asia’s friend from college has almost the exact same dream experiences as her. These situations come across like a forced strain on probability and though The Death Fairy’s main premise is itself improbable, the details surrounding the existence of the death fairy should not also feel forced.
The Death Fairy is nonetheless a page-turner. Stevens’ elaborate and chilling world of the death fairy piques the reader’s curiosity from the first page until its unraveling in the last few chapters. Stevens keeps the reader at arm’s length, divulging very little, until he finally lets them in on the secret world of the death fairy. For an easy read with a Twilight-esque feel, pick up a copy of The Death Fairy at the Concordia University Bookstore.