I may have created a monster last week with my review of Veronica Roth’s “Divergent.” Here’s book review number two (hey, that rhymed).
“Hold me Closer, Necromancer”
By Lish Mcbride
Genre: Young adult urban fantasy
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. October, 2010
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
I picked up this book because a friend of mine told me “you have to read it.” So I read it, and I enjoyed it.
I’m going to try and keep this to no spoilers, but one or two might slip out.
This was an all-around fun read. I can’t say how happy I was that, even though it was about necromancers, it wasn’t swimming with death. What death was included was handled very well. Just when I thought “oh my god, holy crap, that’s terrifying,” something happened to diffuse the tension, and I was back to laughing.
I’d like to take a minute and talk about POV. I spent a ton of time in my genre reading class this semester writing about POV and its various uses. Mcbride chose to go with a few points of view—one first, the rest third. I’ve seen this in a few other places—Tess Gerritsen’s “The Silent Girl” and Genevieve Valentine’s “Mechanique,” which also uses the ever unpopular second person. “Mechanique” generally drove me insane, but I loved the different POV’s in “The Silent Girl.” Similarly, I found them refreshing in “Hold me Closer, Necromancer.” They gave the story a lot of depth, but the first person perspective from Sam kept me understanding that he was the main character.
That said, I wonder how the story would have worked entirely from Sam’s perspective. A good amount of urban fantasy books (“The Drezden Files” by Jim Butcher and “The Katie Chandler Series” by Shanna Swendson to name just a few) are told like that. I’ve heard it said that first person leaves the reader with an unreliable narrator. I don’t think that’s why Mcbride chose to interrupt Sam’s first-person narration, though. In the interest of keeping the book classified as young adult, the interruptions seemed necessary. Showing some of what happened from Sam’s perspective (Sam being a bit squeamish) might have been too much. Showing it through the third-person lens kept the action rated PG 13.
Also, it was really nice to see a protagonist who openly admitted to not being brave. There are too many “kick-ass from birth” heroes out there. Like the third-person interruptions, Sam is refreshing.
I really hope this turns into a series. Without giving too much away, the story resolved itself, but enough questions were also left for Mcbride to easily continue the action. Personally, I’d follow the series.
Oh, I almost forgot, I love the title! (Pun on “Hold me closer, tiny dancer,” I see what you did there.)
What can be taken away from “Hold me Closer, Necromancer?”
-When writing young adult, keep it light, kids. Okay, it doesn’t need to be all fun and games, but, in my opinion, what separates books classified “ya and older readers” from regular adult fiction is how things are presented. Death is a serious concept, but it’s handled in a lighter way in this book.
-Sometimes switching up POV works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It really depends on content, intended audience, and characters.