Book Review: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

Dead is only a beginning, as the book’s slogan says. Wallace Price is a scrooge. He’s a heartless lawyer who has forgotten what life is all about and how to care about others. The only thing he cares about is winning cases and things being efficient. Then he dies, and a reaper, Mei, takes him to limbo (a tea shop), where he can accept his death and move on to the other side with the help of Hugo, the lovable ferryman. And because this is a book, the story isn’t as straightforward.

The book’s theme is Wallace to find his humanity back and understand what the meaning of life is all about (caring about others). The story is sweet without too many disconcerting parts. Whatnot some moral stories about how one can be wronged by life and unfortunate events (all written in a good healthy spirit.) An uplifting story, one could say.

Then we get to my thoughts. It was an okay read, but I didn’t love it. I was highly annoyed, actually. This was like a rerun of The House in the Cerulean Sea. The love story between Wallace and Hugo was basically the same as with Linus and Arthur. A well-rounded “older” man, who has seen and been there, who has a heart of gold and will fight for those who he loves, will transform the main character whose spirit is stuck in the system and thusly lost their humanity. According to the book, love will salvage the person from misery to become better persons and themselves. It’s just what happened in the previous book, only in a different setting. And like with the last book, this one also handles how our systems are rigid and mistreat people. It’s so, but that gives a simplistic picture of why we infect our institutions with bureaucracy—that thing which should fight against corruption and be the champion for fairness. In addition, this book reminds me of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and a lot. Reading this book was like a constant déjà vu experience.

I wanted to love this story so badly. I love reapers and books about death and dying and a moral tale, yet, the book was like a pleasant warm breeze that blew past me, but nothing stuck. This sounds horrible. None of this means it’s a terrible book. Maybe the middle part was a tad too long, a feel-good part of enjoying the oddities of the tea shop. The book is well written. It’s sweet and uplifting, as I said. I just expected more, and that is on me. If you are even the tiniest interested in reading this, you definitely should. The book has a lot of wonderful moments to enjoy.

Thank you for reading, and have a nice day ❤

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