Lili is a surprisingly relatable demon
Set three months after the chaos of Catch Lili Too, Wake the Dead brings back most of the characters we met in 2021 and introduces new ones, including a human called Stace who is so cool even the fae can’t believe they’re not one of them.
There’s a lot happening in this story, with Lili and her necromancer friend Patty dealing with the bittersweet aftermath of book 1, a new drug sending immortals into a killing frenzy, Lili’s grief over losing the one person she’s ever loved. It’s a lot and at times it’s too much but I liked that it was, overwhelming as it was. That’s also why the characters feel relatable to me, despite being magical people.
The worldbuilding is exactly what I love in urban fantasy, where everything feels familiar with an oddness unsettling the ordinary. Whittemore plays with myths, creeds, cultures, mixing them and turning them on their heads, in a manner that is both respectful and fun.
As in the first book, there are plenty of witty one-liners, with Lili breaking the fourth wall repeatedly in her self-flagellation spiral, working her way from careless killer to soulful demon.
The story is more complex than good vs evil, yet that’s what it’s about and what makes it so interesting, since Lili is former evil personified, on a redemption journey she’s struggling to allow herself.
This book feels like those absurd dreams where nothing makes sense but also does at the same time, like what I imagine taking hallucinogens would feel like. It should be terrifying, and it is, at least to the characters. These characters, however, are such a great bunch of people – immortals, non-deads and mere mortals alike – that I felt included in the gang in an unusual way. They’re far from perfect, especially Lili, but they’re unexpectedly relatable and you can’t help but root for them. 4 stars.