Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Under the Whispering Door goes on sale September 21, 2021.
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance, Contemporary Fantasy
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.
And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.
But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.
My Review: Death means something different to everyone. Under the Whispering Door was a lot to take in and then formulate those twirling thoughts into some coherent form of a review. But here goes nothing:
Under the Whispering Door is thought-provoking with loads of questions from several characters dead or alive. Each seeks or has sought to understand (come to terms with) the new reality they find themselves in. But some questions just don’t have an answer. For some of the characters, things are what they are until they make that next choice. As with Wallace, I found myself engaged in retrospection with each new question and perspective proposed to Wallace.
Under the Whispering Door is depressing and sad (but not in a bad way, I’m just an emotional reader). Some chapters were harder to read than others. Raw, cutting emotions color those characters who find themselves “dead.” Even Hugo, the ferryman to the newly dead who come his way, can’t help but feel a shared agony for them. He has a big heart that makes him uniquely ideal for this line of work.
Under the Whispering Door is a home filled with the most delightful people you will ever meet. Wallace Price was a ruthless attorney and pragmatic ass when he was alive. As the story progresses, I grew more and more fond of him and was captivated by the ultimate transformation he undergoes. Hugo – sweet, benevolent sweet Hugo – is one of those rare individuals you’d be lucky to know and even luckier to call a friend. I loved Mei (Wallace’s reaper) and her energetic and sometimes brash demeanor. She’s a fascinating person who’ll always have your back. Nelson (Hugo’s grandfather) is hysterical, always bringing a certain lightness and wisdom to break the tension or delivering funny reality checks.
These characters were wonderful to get to know. They’re very well-rounded: flawed and real with such incredible emotional depth. I can’t imagine any other types of characters for this particular story.
Klune impressed me with how he wove this novel together. I really enjoy his writing style, humor, how he develops the plot/characters and makes me care greatly about everything going on. I highlighted a lot of great quotes and passages. There were various moments I didn’t expect or actions certain characters chose to take. I also liked the quiet, unassuming impact tea had on the story.
I was most surprised by Wallace and Hugo’s relationship, who also seemed surprised by what they felt for each other. It was beautiful. I loved seeing them together.
The climax had me on the edge of my seat! My emotions were high and all over the place. I was crying by the end – pleasantly surprised, incredibly moved, and oh-so happy.
Klune has once again crafted an outstanding and memorable novel. 5 stars!
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