Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Publisher’s Blurb:

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own sparsely-attended funeral, Wallace is outraged. But he begins to suspect she’s right, and he is in fact dead. Then when Hugo, owner of a most peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace reluctantly accepts the truth.

Yet even in death, he refuses to abandon his life – even though Wallace spent all of it working, correcting colleagues and hectoring employees. He’d had no time for frivolities like fun and friends.

But as Wallace drinks tea with Hugo and talks to his customers, he wonders if he was missing something. The feeling grows as he shares jokes with the resident ghost, manifests embarrassing footwear and notices the stars. So when he’s given one week to pass through the door to the other side, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in just seven days.

My Take:

After reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, I just knew I had to get my hands on Under the Whispering Door. The first thing that struck me when I first saw the cover Whispering Door were the similarities to the Cerulean Sea cover. Same artist… It pointed to possible complementary themes; those of seemingly dead ends and regrets, yet maybe second chances.

In Cerulean Sea we have Linus who is a stickler for the rules and is sent on a mission to check on a very special orphanage to make sure of their safety. In Whispering Door, Wallace is a despicable lawyer who has died and is brought to a way station by a reaper on his way to the other side. Repressed-love gay romance, witty dialogue, and some deep thoughts… both books take on some heavy subjects with a certain charm and a good deal of humor. There’s also this fantasy and supernatural angle that gives each book a magical feel, like I wasn’t sure what Klune was going to pull out next…

I’ll focus on Whispering Door here in the criticism… V good main character in Wallace… and typical of Klune’s writing the reader gets good deal of anecdotes and/ or flashbacks that flesh out who he is and add significant depth, unlike the secondary characters. I also felt like the start of the book was too slow and took a bit too long for the initial reveals… yet, the opening scene is perfectly cringey (Wallce fires his long-time legal secretary while she’s in the middle of a personal crisis. He’s beyond a jerk!)

I’ve seen other reviews and most are positive, at least, more positive than mine… Cerulean Sea killed me in all ways. The romance, the crazy characters, and the setting… I just didn’t feel as drawn to Whispering Door.

Link to Interview and Excerpt

3.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Tor Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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