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  • Nikky Lee

Book Review: The Many Deaths Of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade

Title: The Many Deaths Of Laila Starr

Author: Ram V. (author), Filipe Andrade (illustrator)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Page count: 124

Genre: Graphic Novel, Magic Realism, Contemporary Fantasy

Rep: POC

Spice: None

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This gorgeous graphic novel just blew me away. The characters, the journeys, the feels—and the illustrations, wow. All of it together was just *chef’s kiss*. I’ll admit, I teared up at the end.

With the birth of the prophesied inventor of immortality, Death’s department is downsized and Death finds herself out of a job. Sent to live among mortals, she assumes the identity of Laila Starr in Mumbai and sets out to stop the prophesied inventor of immortality, a babe named Darius, and get her job back.

Her plan lasts for all of 5 minutes, where she runs in front of a truck and dies ||after trying (and failing) to kill Darius in his crib. Turns out killing in person is a lot harder than from the lofty realm of the gods’ silver tower||.

Fortunately, Death/Laila Starr still has friends in high places, namely Pranah, the god of life, who revives her. And keeps reviving her as she finds her mortal life ending in various tragic circumstances—often when she crosses paths with Darius.

The most rewarding aspect of this story is watching Laila’s character evolve. As a god, she reaped from upon high in the millions without a second thought. On Earth, Laila’s experience of death is no longer from afar—it’s up close and personal—and it is a delight to watch her character engage with humanity and experience the profoundness that is life up close.

The Many Deaths Of Laila Starr reads like a fairy tale fever-dream. It’s a heady mix of ghosts, talking crows, sentient cigarettes, self-aware temples, and gods walking among humanity. And as its characters navigate the ups and downs of life, the human experience, and the inevitability of death, readers are encouraged to ask themselves what it means to be truly alive.


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