Naomi lives a typical life with her family. Clothed in a black hoodie, surrounded by friends, fighting with her brothers she is just a normal teenage…Grim. As part of the race known as the Grim, Naomi and the people of the realm of Nowhere are tasked with retrieving the lifestones of those Humans who have passed in our world. Lifestones help run all of Nowhere and make sure that the Grims keep on living. Like human-reality, there are the haves and the have-nots. The rich are given the most life assignments and live pretty much forever. The poor receive almost no assignments and are left to live in a shantytown on the edge of Nowhere. What’s worse, past these shanty towns are the Foragers- the product of Human-Grim relations. Naomi, her brothers, and her best friend Keira are given one of the biggest assignments in Grim history when they are sent to infiltrate a school schooling and retrieve the lifestones. Naomi is hesitant. Will she comply with orders or change the rules of Nowhere forever?
While Tiffany Nicole Smith’s YA book is incredibly creative, it is disjointed to the point of distraction. Naomi Grim feels like two different books shoved together to make a story. The first half feels like watching an episode of Dead Like Me mixed with the cheerful parts of first season of American Horror Story . The second section becomes a weird blend of The Hunger Games novels and A Handmaid’s Tale. While the story is by no means boring, more often than not Smith overexplains the basic actions of the Grims, even though their behaviors are almost entirely human. Naomi herself is incredibly predictable and the reader will figure out her every move and mistake even before she does herself.
I had a difficult time with the main premise of the book revolving around a school shooting. With so many occurring on regular basis, the subject matter comes across as a throw away idea, as if it was really a means to an end and not a subject of horrific tragedy. Descriptions of the shooters making their plans come across as casually as Naomi discussing her interest in boys. I almost stopped reading there.
Naomi Grim: Book One of the Silver Scythe Chronicles is available now.