Book Reviews

Review: Death’s Country by R.M. Romero

We are in our reading-novels-in-verse era baby! And Death’s Country is haunting and full of love. It’s a story about fighting for the ones we love and letting them go. Keep reading this book review of Death’s Country for my full thoughts.


Andres Santos of São Paulo was all swinging fists and firecracker fury, a foot soldier in the war between his parents. Until he drowned in the Tietê River… and made a bargain with Death for a new life. A year later, his parents have relocated the family to Miami, but their promises of a fresh start quickly dissolve in the summer heat. 

Instead of fists, Andres now uses music to escape his parents’ battles. While wandering Miami Beach, he meets two photographer Renee, a blaze of fire, and dancer Liora, a ray of sunshine. The three become a polyamorous triad, happy, despite how no one understands their relationship. But when a car accident leaves Liora in a coma, Andres and Renee are shattered. 

Then Renee proposes a radical She and Andres must go into the underworld to retrieve their girlfriend’s spirit and reunite it with her body—before it’s too late. Their search takes them to the City of the dead, where painters bleed color, songs grow flowers, and regretful souls will do anything to forget their lives on earth. But finding Liora’s spirit is only the first step in returning to the living world. Because when Andres drowned, he left a part of himself in the underworld—a part he’s in no hurry to meet again. But it is eager to be reunited with him… 


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Death’s Country delivers Orpheus and Eurydice vibes. Immediately there’s a spine tingling suspense because we all know how it ends. We all have that fear of turning back, of losing the ones we love. With the tension of memories, Death’s Country is about memory. It’s about the experiences we haunt, that we want to forget, and the ones who make us who we are.

The bargains we make in the moment that will haunt us. Death’s Country is lyrical and my favorite Romero story to date. It’s a multi-faceted queer YA fantasy about how much of us does someone have to know to love us? Can they love our brightest days, our darkest secrets, the scars we share? Is that enough? The character dynamics across the page are tender. They’re about someone who understand implicitly, and in a tragic way, our pain. And others who offer us a moment of light to bask in.

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It can be tempting to want to forget. But if we forget the moments we were tested, that we were broken, how will we know how we’ve been remade? The people who stood by us when we needed them the most? Death’s Country is a testament to making space for softness and kindness. To realize we can’t just exorcise our anger, our sadness, our history. We have to learn to manage it, to be with is, sit with our emotions no matter the shade.

Find Death’s Country on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells, & Libro. fm.


What is your favorite queer Greek Mythology retelling?

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