Review & Giveaway: Daniel José Older’s Half-Resurrection Blues

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a review of Daniel José Older’s debut urban fantasy novel Half-Resurrection Blues, and a giveaway! Are you excited? I am! 🙂

(I was also supposed to do a Q&A, but communication issues with the publicist nixed that for now. I’ll post it – separately – when it’s ready.)

Review & Giveaway: Daniel José Older’s Half-Resurrection BluesHalf-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older
Series: Bone Street Rumba #1
Published by Penguin Books on January 6th 2015
ISBN: 9780425275986
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 326
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death...

Purchase at IndieBound | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


drey’s thoughts:

Carlos Delacruz doesn’t remember his life – his real life, the one he died from to come back as an inbetweener; someone caught between the living and the dead. He’s one-of-a-kind, and has a job with the Council of the Dead hunting bad things. Then he gets an assignment that leaves a question in his mind and a bad taste in his mouth, and life as he knows it gets complicated, quickly.

I like Carlos. He’s not complicated, but not bland either, and goes about his business without much fuss. He has his friends, his peeps, and his job, I guess that makes his life – such as it is – as normal as it gets. I liked his confidence and his ability to recognize when something’s not quite on the up and up, and his compassion. He’s the perfect hero in this story of a rogue gone wild (or is it nuts?), trying to save the world as we know it.

The story took a little while to set up but I enjoyed Carlos’ day-to-day, though I did have to get used to the lingo. My own life experiences have not been as colorful as that between the pages of Half-Resurrection Blues, so I had to work a little at getting into the flow. Now I want to visit NYC again, to find the vibrant color described here. And I’ve gone off track, sorry!

The plot involves the oft-heard plan to take over the world, whether misguided or malevolent is besides the point. Death leaves bodies and questions, both of which worry Carlos as he tries to pin down the villain. The ending was a little short, and I actually laughed at the villain’s comeuppance. Serves him right!

Though the story meandered a little more than I usually like, I quite enjoyed the pace and action, and the characters. There’s a balance between the grim dark and the colorful backdrop. Half-Resurrection Blues is a welcome addition to the urban fantasy genre.

drey’s rating: Excellent!

Have you read Half-Resurrection Blues? What did you think? And if you haven’t, read on to win your own copy!



The publisher has a copy of Half-Resurrection Blues for you! This one’s open to US residents only; no PO Boxes please. To enter, fill out the form below before February 9th. Good luck!

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About Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is the author of the upcoming Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015) and the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which begins in January 2015 with Half-Resurrection Blues from Penguin’s Roc imprint. Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and guest edited the music issue of Crossed Genres. His short stories and essays have appeared in, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York and he facilitates workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis.


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