Death and Human Resources is a comedy fantasy novel by author Mark Andrew Swan, published in 2022. The story follows Azrael, the Angel of Death, or the Grim Reaper as we know him and his struggle with the celestial bureaucracy.
The illustrations on the book cover stand out as the idea of a skeletal figurine in a suit is nothing but intriguing. The background too looks really futuristic with crazy skyscrapers and super modern infrastructure. But trust me, it is going to be anything but what you’d be expecting.
Book Review: Death and Human Resources
The book has a lot to talk about. The plot is very gripping, the characters equally exciting and the writing absolutely mesmerizing. I want to talk about each of the aspects separately in order to make it distinct and clear for the readers and I would rate each one out of five.
Most of the story is based in Heaven and the Silver City, where the operations are managed by a hierarchy of Archangels, Angels, Principalities, Djinns, and other celestial entities. At some points, the story comes down to the universe as we know it, but the main focus mostly is on Heaven and Hell.
In most faiths, the concept of Heaven and Hell is very similar and so is the idea of angels and Creation. However, it is very interesting to see the whole dynamic from an absolutely different perspective. Mind you, some people with very headstrong faith might consider this way of storytelling blasphemous but treat it as a story, and you’ll love it more than anything.
Imagine the idea of a corporate, where there are multiple departments with a management hierarchy. Each department has its own targets and goals for the corporate’s bigger plans and everyone is striving for personal and professional growth.
Now the idea of the book is that God is creating the universe and the whole process of the Creation is more of a corporate situation. The responsibilities are divided among different departments, headed by Archangels and managed by inferior Principalities and angels. The idea of the creation and management of the universe that started as a beautiful and exciting project for the heavenly became a mind-numbing, drab office job really soon (Not as soon as you’d think).
Azrael, the Chief Angel of Death finds himself grinding at his desk 9 to 5 every week, crunching nothing but tallies and numbers. The monotony of eons gets disrupted when he receives a call from the depths of Hell and what he gets to know blows his mind into a million pieces. Hell has risen as Heaven’s business rival and is dead set on a holistic hostile takeover. What will Azrael do now? Will he be able to unravel the corporate conspiracies or will succumb to what seems like large-scale office politics? Grab the book and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The book is fairly an easy-read. Though the story is lengthy, the vocabulary that has been used can be understood even by amateur readers. The past and present events are going parallel in the book which might confuse readers a bit at points but it was necessary as it establishes the hows and whys of the story. If you are a regular fantasy reader or new to the genre, this one is definitely a must-read.
Apart from the process of Creation and its management, one can also find themes like friendships, teamwork, professional conflicts, crisis management and control, betrayal, and more. An absolute recommendation from our side.
Verdict: 4.5/5, A comical account of the Grim Reaper and his struggle with the ‘celestial bureaucracy’.
Reasons To Push This One Up Your TBR
If you are a fantasy fiction person, Death and Human Resources is just the book for you. It is a fast-paced fantasy comedy that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end and might leave you doubled up at certain points. The idea of celestial corporate grind will make you remember the episodes of The Office with all the office drama, served in the form of mythical epic.
So trust me when I say that this book is not at all to be skipped. Get hold of it as soon as you can and dive into the world of angels and demons and djinns and whatnot as they unravel the working of the universe as well as their 9 to 5 grinds.
About the Author: Mark Andrew Swan
Mark Andrew Swan is a Colorado-based producer, musician, newsperson, and videographer. He has published The Book of Many Little Things: Volume 1, a collection of narrative poems in 2018 and Death and Human Resources, a comedy fantasy novel in the year 2022. In Mark’s own words, he grew up dreaming of monsters and dreading school and his overactive imagination got him in plenty of trouble with his parents and the law.
Mark has attended Colorado Media School, from where he graduated with honors in sound and video editing. He is currently in the role of traffic and weather reporter for radio stations such as KOA Denver, KRDO Colorado Springs, Mix 100, KILO, and more. You can also find him playing in a band named ‘Pretty. Loud.’ with his friends, Michelle Bailey and Tim Sanchez.