Overview (No Spoilers):
A genuinely enjoyable story, Tosho is Dead is a heavy young adult read that manages to link purgatory, mythology, zombies, and Nazis. This story is told from the perspective of our ever confused, poor Tosho whose guilt regarding the horrific actions of his father shades every decision he makes. Due to Tosho bearing the burdens of his father’s past, every relationship he forges is handicapped by this unwieldy weight, often with frustrating consequences.
Most of this read takes place in purgatory, which under Edgar’s pen is crafted into a realm that weaves together mythology and religion from various cultures. The Egyptian influence is quite pronounced, along with many Greek references scattered throughout, such as the River Styx and a manticore. Though a lot to keep track of, the variety of character types (e.g. ghosts, spirits, golems, oracles, vampires, zombies) serves to enrich this literary world, with each group identifiable by their distinct characteristics. Initially, clear rules for purgatory itself are established, but as the story progresses, these guidelines seem to grow ever more murky, sowing confusion for the reader at the key deviations. Ultimately, I loved the concept behind Edgar’s purgatory and found myself wanting to know more regarding this magic-filled world.
Edgar’s characters are full of personality, with each one wielding its own unmistakable voice. Tosho was actually my least favorite character due to his low confidence and the self hatred he is yoked with due to his father. That being said, those criticisms on my part were important for Tosho’s growth and depth throughout this novel. The surrounding cast is much more likeable and has depth deliberately applied, chapter by chapter, as Tosho quests with different combinations of his revolving team. Lil’Mon and Alpheus are two of my favorites, but Kemsit definitely takes the cake. Her quirky dialogue lightens even the most dire of circumstances.
Overall, Edgar delivers a fast-paced, intriguing spin on purgatory in Tosho is Dead, where the mythologies of various cultures are merged together, but with the status quo crumbling, does Tosho have time to figure out who is behind the dangerous schemes?
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Tosho’s dad is still alive. Where is he? Why did Tosho think he was dead?
- Discovering that Tosho was born of the Aryan program is an interesting twist that helped cement the depth of his feelings regarding his past. Did he ever discuss this with his mother?
- How is Tosho’s family coping with him being dead?
- How is Sedan dealing with the fact he saw his friend as a zombie?
- Where did Alpheus’ magical helmet come from?
- How did Elise’s mother get captured? Where did she disappear to?
- The ending made Tosho is Dead feel like a prequel, with his character finally coming into his own with the confidence one needs to be a badass protector of purgatory. This book also gives the background on his assembled team of awesome sidekicks.
- Is Merlin actually gone? Does Tosho have an actual soul somewhere?
- Is Tosho’s mark for the Oracle still relevant? What happens if he gets another?
- Tosho’s interactions with the Oracle made me want to shake him! Why didn’t he think of his questions more carefully ahead of time?
Agglomerated: to gather into a ball, mass, or cluster
Plasticine: used for a plastic modeling paste
Harras: a herd of stud horses
Appellation: an identifying name or title
Transmogrify: to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
Spelt: chiefly British past tense and past participle of spell
Liana: any of various usually woody vines especially of tropical rain forests that root in the ground