Book Review: Death is but a Dream by Erin Hayes

Death is but a dream - 2 copySynopsis:

Caught between life and death, all Callie wants is to live again.

Homicide detective Callie Saunders knows that death isn’t all pearly gates and angels. After being hit by a bus, she finds that it’s the ancient gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who are in charge of everything.

So when Hades offers her a deal, she accepts. If she wants to be brought back to life, she’ll have to figure out who is trying to kill his son. But if she fails, both her soul and the world will be destroyed.

With the odds mounting against her, it’ll take everything she has within her to wake up from death. But the rules are constantly changing. And someone wants her to stay dead.

Buy the book:

About the Author: 


Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery Death is but a Dream and the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average. You can reach her at and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.




My Review:

I’ve always been fascinated with ancient mythology, and for writers, it instantly gifts us with an almost pre-built world and character list. I’ve read the Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter which deals with Greek mythology and loved it, and its why I wanted to review Death is But a Dream, as this also includes aspects of Greek mythology cleverly weaved into an urban fantasy style story line.

I must admit that I found the start a little dry, but it does soon open out into an intriguing story that keeps you reading. It had more bite than the Goddess Test books, perhaps because this falls more into NA/ adult than YA. So, I found myself understanding the protagonist more – there were less hissy fits and more action with a stronger female lead.

From a writer’s perspective, this book posed the age old problem of the first line hook. I myself have fallen foul of it in the past, and I think that it really proves a point of how important it truly is. The very first line is: “I was walking down Market Street, when I saw a small family taking a stroll, a young couple pushing a stroller with small toddler in it.” Not very hookish, and (to make it punchy) should have really been two sentences rather than one. It doesn’t represent the rest of the book very well, which is full of intrigue and action. Perhaps starting it off as she literally saves the child and feels herself die, rather than scene setting?

The front cover is lovely, although doesn’t give the feel of Greek mythology, which is one of its strongest selling points.

Overall, I’d give Death is but a Dream 4 out of 5 stars –  a really well thought out supernatural book with a twist of Greek myth.


My top ten book list

My own over-stuffed book shelf.

My top ten books.

As I’ve mentioned before, you really can’t be a decent writer if you’re not an avid reader, so in that spirit, I’m listing my top ten recently read books – but don’t worry, although there are brief descriptions there are no spoilers.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins.

Ok, this really counts as three books, but I devoured them so fast that it felt like just the one. Dystopian, political, gruesome (in places) sad (in places) and above all written expertly well – if you haven’t already read them, ask Santa for this trilogy.

Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

First person from the zombie’s point of view – need I saw more? Ok, a little more…it has a loose Romeo & Juliet storyline. Is funny and poignant. The film of this will be out next year, so read the book first – just in case the film doesn’t do it justice.

Dark Fever – Karen Marie Moning

Evil alien-like Fae creatures are forcing their way into our world and only one American Southern Belle has the power to stop them! Very Buffy-like in it’s concept and the whole series is thoroughly enjoyable – would love to see this made into a TV series.

Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris

The latest instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I read this in a day! I usually do with the books in this series. It got some mixed reviews about it being overly complicated but, if you love and know the characters the whole thing just gets more intriguing – I was uncertain about the love interest by the end though (read it and you’ll see what I mean)

Incarnation – Emma Cornwall

Taking the point of view of Lucy in Dracula, this Steam Punk story gives us an alternate version of the events that inspired Bram Stoker. Well written and great escapism – although it did take some liberties every now and then.

What’s a Ghoul to Do – Victoria Laurie

I usually find it hard to read ghost stories, but with its fun characters and great premise this one really took me by surprise – A ghost busting psychic detective story which straddles both paranormal and crime novels. Lots of books in the series, so I’m looking forward to working my through to see what MJ Holiday does next.

Masque of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin

A great alternate history steam punk novel that kick starts a trilogy. Interesting concept and compelling characters that really do develop through the book. Manages to paint both a bleak and vivid picture of an alternate Victorian society. Eagerly awaiting the next instalment, which Bethany assures us is under way.

Kitty’s Big Trouble – Carrie Vaughn

I’m a big fan of the Kitty books. She’s a werewolf and a radio show host – what more can you ask for? I like the way the author has developed the character and my particular favourite of this series is ‘Kitty and the House of Horrors’ which was like a supernatural big brother. Big Trouble doesn’t disappoint and, if you haven’t read them, put them all on your Christmas wish list.

Morganville Vampires – Last Breath – Rachel Caine

I bought the Morganville Vampire series a while ago and quickly devoured them. The newest ones are a little jarring though, as the POV switches between characters – which I tend not to like – but the characters themselves are fully fleshed out and the vampire lore in these books is fantastic (I could have written ‘fangtastic’ but I didn’t) My favourite character is Myrnin – a flamboyant fluffy bunny slipper wearing mad scientist vampire, who you never know whether to trust.

The Goddess Test – Aimee Carter

We’ve been saturated with vampires, werewolves and zombies so a book about the Greek Gods is a refreshing twist. Great themes in this one and lots of parallels with mythology. It’s a lovely written YA book that captures you from the very beginning. The ending was quite obvious, but sometimes that’s a nice comfy feeling.

What have been your favourite reads this year?