Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
**Advanced reading copy**
The first novel in the "Plague Times" trilogy, A Lovely Way to Burn, was a favourite for me so I was very excited to read the second book in the series. Easily read as a standalone novel "Death is a Welcome Guest" is in a lot of ways a quieter, more contemplative look at the world first realised in "Burn" focusing on a different set of characters and telling a different kind of tale...
The story is set as the sweats begins to really take its toll - we meet Magnus, a comedian, whose life seems to be coming together just as the world falls apart. A rather "murphy's law" set of circumstances see's him jailed then stuck there as people are dying like flies. After making his escape rather reluctantly in the company of his cellmate, the pair seem stuck together. Magnus wishes to find his family but the times he now finds himself in are dangerous ones and he and Jeb are about to get a taste of a new kind of community...
This instalment was a slow burner in a good way - the characters are developed slowly but surely, put into situations that test their moral compass, Magnus especially is given a lot to think about. Louise Welsh uses her story to examine where the cracks are in our society and most especially to look at human nature in both its good and bad forms giving a lot of pause for thought on what might happen should the worst happen.
She manages to give us a little murder mystery in there as well, another platform from which to explore how we treat each other, it is a very cleverly constructed and often emotional tale that will draw you in. I love how the world is developing in the aftermath of the plague, I am going to be very interested to see how the author completes the trilogy - will both these tales merge or will there be another completely different viewpoint? No idea but can't wait to find out.
Whilst Magnus was a great anchor for the story, I found myself more drawn to Jeb whose background we don't really find out until much later - one of the intriguing aspects about the ongoing story for me was the assumptions that Magnus made about Jeb which coloured some of his actions - the friendship (yep not really a friendship but I can't think of another word!) that develops between these two is highly engaging.
I love how the two novels in the series so far stand together yet apart - both bringing something different to the building of this world - and allowing the reader to choose the order in which to read them.
Overall this is shaping up to be a really great trilogy, one that will stay with me. I cannot wait for the finale.
Happy Reading Folks!