Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
By Lish McBride
Review by Jarad Johnson
During the hectic week of final exams, it’s always nice to have a distraction, which is exactly why I picked this book up. It’s an all-engrossing, fast-paced urban fantasy that contains: a zombie panda, witches, werewolves, a dragon-cat, an evil necromancer AND feisty ghosts. This particular ghost also happens to love waffles, but who can blame them? And, while I really enjoyed the book, there is just no way to sum all that up in a succinct sentence. It also may seem like a lot of things going on at once in a rather average-sized book, but somehow it all works, and makes sense within the story.
The main plot features a college drop-out named Sam who works at a fast food joint and suddenly discovers that he has the power to raise the dead- otherwise known as necromancy. Ironically, it was the slacking at his job that made him discover his true nature, so it makes real life laziness seem like an asset. Sam is beset by and powerful and evil figure who wants to use him for unknown purposes, and he is given an ultimatum: one week to figure out his next move, decide whether or not to work with the evil stranger, all the while trying to come to grips with the new, fantastical world around him. Makes that French final seem like a breeze in comparison (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). In short, it was a breath of fresh air, and blessedly free of any overarching message. It was true fictional escapism, which is highly welcome in the times we live in. It was smart, witty dark humor that made the serious plot of the novel lighter, so there was a nice balance between the two.
Urban fantasy often feels like one of those genres that is overdone- like sparkly vampires or teen love triangles. The approach that McBride has to the genre seems to have given it new life, making her a literary necromancer. She also manages to write realistic characters- there’s no overly- angsty, insta-love ridden, or stereotypical teenagers to be found here, which is what often plagues the YA genre. Ok, there is a bit of insta-love, but it’s while someone is in a state of captivity, so it doesn’t count. And that relationship is neither integral nor central to the main plot of the novel. Anyway, the characters are neither likeable or unlikeable, they are both or sometimes neither. They don’t behave like unreachable and unrealistic heroines, they make mistakes, and again act like real people, which fits with the genre. Anyhow, why am I still sitting here writing this? Go read the damn book!
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!