Reviews

Review: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune πŸ’™ In BUZZWORDS

Review Under the Whispering Door

Storygraph – Goodreads β€“ Amazon  β€“ Book Depository

CW’s: Grief & Death, Mentions of Murder, Suicide & Panic Attacks

Representation 🌷 Bi MC, Black Gay LI with anxiety

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

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Review

Unlikable MC & Character Growth πŸ’«

β€œHe hoped wherever he was going that there’d still be the sun and the moon and the stars. He’d spent a majority of his life with his head turned down. It seemed only fair that eternity would allow him to raise his face toward the sky.”

I struggled with Wallace a bit, but he grew on me so much ➽ For the first two chapters the narrative built him up to the the Most Horrible Person, which made me worried, but he quickly becomes more humbled. I think it’s the fact that Wallace doesn’t hold much power like he did in his life as a cruel boss. Now his life is over and he’s depending on the help of the only people who can see him and know what he is going through. I loved that a big theme was Wallace reevaluating his life, the choices he made and the regrets he has. Only in death, does he admit to some of his faults that he always pushed back and ignored. He’s finding out what really mattered and where he went wrong. Throughout so much reflection and the support of his new found family, Wallace becomes a more caring person who finally puts others ahead of himself, instead of the other way around. I really appreciated the character growth and it WAS funny to see him getting pulled off his high horse at the very beginning πŸ˜‚

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Slowburn Romance, Grumpy/Sunshine AND Starcrossed Lovers πŸ’˜

β€œSure. Do you like the plants?” Wallace glared at him. β€œThey’re plants.” β€œHush,” Hugo said. β€œDon’t let them hear you say that. They’re very sensitive.” β€œYou’re out of your mind.” β€œI prefer to think of myself as eccentric.”

Wallace & Hugo stole my heart! ➽ Hugo is the ferryman who is supposed to help Hugo pass on and go through the Door, which will take him through to the afterlife. Their budding romance very much fits the starcrossed lovers trope, as they meet when it’s too late. Wallace is allowed to stay with them until he is ready to move on, but he cannot return to the life he had. Due to his death both aren’t able to touch the other and know they are on borrowed time, so there’s SO much pining and yearning πŸ₯Ί I loved Hugo, as he’s so caring and always trying to help the dead souls that pass through his house. He takes his job very seriously and gives everyone a chance, even Wallace who is still in denial and emotionally repressed in the beginning. He gives Wallace a space to be himself and slowly grow, as much as is possible in his situation! It’s a very slowburn full of conversations, comfort and banter. I also loved the grumpy (Wallace) x sunshine (Hugo) vibes this couple gave off ❀️‍πŸ”₯

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Found Family πŸ’Œ

β€œThe first time you share tea, you are a stranger. The second time you share tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share tea, you become family.”

Nelson, Mei & Apollo were another highlight of the book ➽ Mei is the reaper who picks up Wallace from his own funeral and leads him to Hugo. This is her first solo mission as a reaper and I loved how hard she tried to be encouring but also strict with Wallace. Mei’s got a great sense of humor and I loved learning about how she became a reaper! Then there’s Nelson, he’s Hugo’s grandfather who didn’t move on, in order to support him. He’s an agent of chaos and was so fun to read about. He’s the only person who understands what Wallace is going through, as he’s also a ghost, just with way more experience. Last but not least is Apollo, he is a dog and the BEST boy!! 🐢 I loved how all of them came together and formed a found family, that was unlikely yet still so loving. Wallace finding comfort and support in his afterlife was so heartwarming! Compared to The House in the Cerulean Sea, this is a bit darker book as it heavily deals with death and grief, but I still liked that there were funny and happy moments to balance it out πŸ₯Ί

IN CONCLUSION. ➽ Under the Whispering Door is another fantastic Adult Fantasy from T.J. Klune!! πŸ₯° Once again he managed to hit so many off my buzzwords: pining, slowburn romance with a pinch of starcrossed lovers, found family and lots of character growth. I also loved how the themes of death and grief were explored within this book!

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Have you read Under the Whispering Door? Are there any books with reapers/death themes that you like? πŸ’™

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