Whether I'm soaring through the air as a flyer for Specter University's cheer squad, or speeding down the steepest mountain with only grace and balance keeping me from an icy end, I've always needed to feel a rush.
Cover Artist: Shari Ryan
Published: May 9th, 2015
I've always felt like an average girl ... except for my strange relationship with death. You could say I like to court it. Whether I'm soaring through the air as a flyer for Specter University's cheer squad, or speeding down the steepest mountain with only grace and balance keeping me from an icy end, I've always needed to feel a rush. But now Death is courting me―in more ways than one. First, there's Rishi, a rogue death deity who has a penchant for annoying me nearly to my grave and whose intense gaze has the power to see right through me. Then there's Hades, who I'd rather had stayed just a myth. Now that he knows I exist, he's not going to leave me alone until I meet the same end as my mother.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention her? I spent my whole life thinking she had died when I was a baby, but now I've found out she's much more than dead. Fifty years ago, Hades banished my mother from the underworld and took away her ability to cross over souls―souls that have wandered lost through the world ever since. Now she wants me to clean up the mess.
You may have heard of her before...
They call her the Grim Reaper.
The Modern Reaper and Humanity
I wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur of reaper stories, but I have read a few. My first was probably Mort by Terry Pratchett, which I read a long, long time ago. Pratchett’s take, while still refreshing and humorous, doesn’t necessarily reflect the “modern” reaper, but there’s a sense of humanity that threads through that book that is now in many others. So here’s my take, based on what I’ve read more recently.
What I know is today’s reapers are often females, whose lives suddenly come to a halt when they’re called to aid Death or become reapers themselves. In Western culture, Death is often depicted as a man. But today, I believe many authors, females particularly, have begun to remake that image into young women. These are women who are full of compassion, sometimes selfish, who don’t necessarily want the gig of crossing over the dead. But they do it anyway, becoming more selfless as time wears on because most often it’s the right thing to do. There’s a moral code usually involved: when Death knocks, there’s no changing fate.
In The Reaper’s Daughter, the Grim Reaper is the main protagonist’s mother. The character, who has forever been depicted as a skeletal man, has now become a woman. The feminine reaper plays a large role in this story, and Santa Muerte, a popular Mexican death deity who is worshipped in feminine form, is the Grim Reaper’s sister in my twist.
Modern reapers aren’t just ghastly visitors, they’re complex characters—ones who have hopes, dreams, and love interests. Death is truly common because it happens to everyone, no matter a person’s status in life. The modern reaper reflects this by not just putting on a human face, but by truly being human in a deep and honest way.
As a girl, K.M. always wished she’d suddenly come into magical powers or cross over into a Faerie circle. Although that has yet to happen, she instead lives vicariously through the characters she creates writing fantasy and paranormal.
When K.M. is not busy writing her next novel, she serves as a freelance editor and writer. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in English-Lit from Nazareth College of Rochester. K.M. lives in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region with her husband, her extremely energetic little boy, and their crazy goldendoodle Luna (short for Lunatic)
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