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The Death Catchers

The Death Catchers

3.9 12
by Jennifer Anne Kogler

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On her fourteenth Halloween, Lizzy Mortimer sees her first death-specter.

Confused at first, Lizzy soon learns from her grandmother Bizzy that as Death Catchers, they must prevent fate from taking its course when an unjust death is planned-a mission that has been passed down from their ancestor, Morgan le Fay. Only, Lizzy doesn't expect one of her first cases to


On her fourteenth Halloween, Lizzy Mortimer sees her first death-specter.

Confused at first, Lizzy soon learns from her grandmother Bizzy that as Death Catchers, they must prevent fate from taking its course when an unjust death is planned-a mission that has been passed down from their ancestor, Morgan le Fay. Only, Lizzy doesn't expect one of her first cases to land her in the middle of a feud older than time between Morgan le Fay and her sister Vivienne le Mort. Vivienne hopes to hasten the end of the world by preventing Lizzy from saving King Arthur's last descendant-humanity's greatest hope for survival. It's up to Lizzy, as Morgan's earthly advocate, to outwit fate before it's too late.

With its unique spin on Arthurian legend, this fresh, smartly written story will stand out in the paranormal genre.

Editorial Reviews

A creative mix of Arthurian legend, romance, and fantasy ... Characters are richly developed, particularly Lizzy and her grandmother, and the plot's pacing is pitch-perfect.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
[A]n effective blend of elegant mythmaking and genial, homey storytelling ... The romance between Lizzy and Drake is sweet, and the promise for its development in the sequels, along with Drake's future role as king, will surely bring readers back to another visit to Avalon.
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
There is a chapter in The Death Catchers entitled "Suspending Disbelief," which is what readers must do when reading this modern-day Arthurian novel. Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Mortimer does not hand in her midsemester English assignment, and her teacher, Mrs. Tweedy, requires her to justify in writing why she should pass the course. What follows is Lizzie's account of the events leading up to the missed deadline. Lizzie, while reading the newspaper one day, sees the actual words jumble into news of her best friend's impending death from an auto accident. Lizzie's feisty grandmother, Bizzie, realizes what has just occurred and confides in Lizzie that she is one of a long line of Death Catchers descending from the sisters of Avalon, Arthurian legend's immortal sorceresses. Death Catchers learn of deaths to come and try to prevent them. Lizzie also learns that Drake, the cute next door neighbor, is the Last Descendant, who is vital in preventing world doom at the hand of Vivienne le Mort, one of the sisters. Lizzie, as his Keeper, must keep him alive. The Death Catchers is a unique take on Arthurian legend; however, it gets obscured by Bizzie's cutesy sayings and unbelievable actions (for example, driving her wheelchair with her leg straight out in a cast),which become tiresome. The other characters, Lizzie and her best friend, Jodi, as well as Drake, are more believable. The writing is descriptive. Chapter titles are ingredients of writing, such as "Foreshadowing" and "Onomatopoeia." Lizzie's comments to Mrs. Tweedy, which begin each chapter, are funny. Purchase if your budget allows. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this exciting fantasy, Arthurian legend journeys to the Northern California coast to a community where Morgan le Faye's daughter settled more than 1000 years ago. Writing her story as a letter to her teacher as an argument for why she should pass English despite not having turned in her final project, 14-year-old Lizzy tells how she discovered that she was a Death Catcher like her grandmother, able to see people's impending deaths and prevent them. When she discovers that Morgan's sister Vivienne le Mort is planning to kill Drake, a boy at her school and the last living descendant of King Arthur, and thereby bring about the end of the world, she risks her own life to thwart these plans and save him. Her need to maintain absolute secrecy despite the fact that Drake's name is etched on her wrist while he is under the threat of death lends the story a sense of teenage reality as well as suspense. There is a gentle and sweet romance between Drake and Lizzy, and they are interesting and likable. Lizzy's quirky grandmother is carefully drawn, even though her colloquial speech (dropped "g's" and a plethora of "ain'ts") wears thin. The fantasy elements, specifically the transplanting of the Arthurian myth and the idea that Doomsday will affect the whole world, are not entirely believable, but the realistic aspects of the story are strong enough to carry readers along. This first book in a series will be enjoyed by a wide range of fantasy lovers.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews

Faced with the essential paradox of prophecy—if you see the future, can you change it?—14-year-old Lizzy Mortimer races to save the people whose deaths she foresees and prevent Doomsday in this uneven modern-day Arthurian tale.

Like all the women on her father's side, Lizzy sees her first "death-specter" at the age of 14. Understandably upset, Lizzy finds help from her aphorism-spouting, Creole spice–loving Grandma Bizzy. When feuding enchantresses from Avalon start appearing in the twee coastal town of Crabapple, Calif., searching for the Last Descendent, Lizzy uncovers the Arthurian origins of her "Hand of Fate" and the high stakes for her amateur sleuthing. Lizzy comes off as younger than 14, even when crushing on high-school senior Drake Westfall, and high-school issues such as bullying, learning disabilities and overbearing/abusive parents receive a heavy-handed treatment. Spunky Bizzy outshines less well-developed characters, but Lizzy begins to blossom in the last few pages. The novel is written as a make-up final paper for English class, with literary techniques—transitions, setting and climax—explained in each chapter, and this framing device distracts from the central action. Despite a robbery subplot and an increasing number of rules about Lizzy's new "gift," foreshadowing is rampant and the end predictable.

Readers looking for rebooted mythology should stick with Rick Riordan.(Paranormal adventure. 10 & up)

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

JENNIFER ANNE KOGLER is the author of The Otherworldlies and Ruby Tuesday, which started as her senior thesis at Princeton University. Born and raised in California, she is the youngest sibling to six brothers and a sister and is currently attending law school.

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The Death Catchers 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the few books I would read again. Jennifer Anne Kogler takes this book to the next level on Arthurian legends. But it is sadly one of those books to were you have to make it through the first few chapters to get hooked into it, but when you get to a point you just can't put the book down. I was in hopes to see if Jennifer had made another book continuing were it had left off. Nothing yetvbut time can only tell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book starts out slow but you have to stick with it. Arthurian legends are the best stories. The author takes it to a whole new level by writing the storie like a letter to an English teacher. Best Arthurian book I've read yet!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People need to read this book! I laughed a lot reading it and it has a thrilling historical twist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was a cute fantasy story that uses the legend of king Arthur with a modern twist. It is also set up in a way that helps kids understand different types of literary terms.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Words cannot describe how awesome this book is!!!!!!!!
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
I loved the Arthurian legend that was weaved into this supernatural tale. Lizzy has the power to know if those close to her are in danger of dying and while she might want to shy away from the duties that come with that knowledge, she never actually walks away. Instead she enlists the help of her best friend, even if she isn't totally honest about what the help is for. Even though the main character is deceiving her friend, family, and those in danger, it never comes off as a bad thing. She's quietly playing the hero in a tale that is bigger than even she realizes in the beginning. All of the characters are lovely, especially Lizzy's grandmother, Bizzy, who is kind of crazy eccentric, but it absolutely works for her. Lizzy's mom is obsessed with books and I loved hearing about the different reads she was recommending to characters in the story, it definitely made me want to reread Fever Pitch and Pride and Prejudice and check out some of the other mentioned books that I hadn't read yet. Even the bookstore/musicstore owner had his recommendations (and if you haven't read The Once and Future King, try it). While one part of the story was completed by the end of the book, it is left open for another book to continue on the tale. I hope to read more about Lizzy, her friends, her grandmother and just when this doomsday idea is going to come into play. Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is ver nicely written and great story line
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Karen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Its a pretty good story, think i need to read more to rate higher though!
Belizabeth417 More than 1 year ago
Dealing with everything at once, this story highlights the strange turn of events on Lizzy's 14th Halloween. Perfect for any ages, this story comes alive and has a twist on the classic tales of the Arthurian legend, allowing Jennifer Kogler to put her own spin on it. Written in the form of an informal letter to her teacher, Mrs. Tweedy, Lizzy Mortimer tells a wild, adventurous story that seems unrealistic, until you realize that the truth, and the truth only, is being told.