Author: Lish McBride
Published: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Series: Necromancer #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 3.5 stars
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“Next time a talking head ended up in my easy chair, I would have all sorts of points of reference, but at that moment, I was completely at sea.”My Thoughts
―Lish McBride, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
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? (Goodreads)
I was looking forward to reading Hold Me Closer, Necromancer because of its dark humor and its male POV, a rarity in YA. I just couldn't ignore a tale that makes light of raising the dead, and I'm happy to say that Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was, for the most part, a delightful read filled with laughs despite its disturbing subject matter.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is told from a male's POV, something I don't see nearly enough in YA books. For once, I am actually happy with a male protagonist. Usually YA books I've read that are told from a male POV just leave me feeling unconvinced that our main character is actually a male (cough Beautiful Creatures cough) . Yes, I know, I'm falling prey to gender stereotypes and a whole lifetime of gendering, but I just can't help being bothered by it! I may not like it, but we are molded by society's expectations. Yet Sam actually seemed to think how I'd imagine a young male would think. I've never been inside a guy's head, thank goodness, but I felt like I was when reading Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Bravo, McBride.
As male protagonists go, I found Sam, or Samhain, to be rather likable. He was far from perfect, but I loved how his sense of humor remained intact throughout the book. Despite suffering many beatings, learning his true identity as a necromancer and just, overall, having a real sucky time of it (understatement), he still kept a brave face through it all. He was a very self-deprecating character, which made me like him all the more. After learning about the immensity of his power, and that he's pretty much the most powerful necromancer ever or something like that, he didn't become arrogant or overly proud. Instead, he was terrified by what this all meant; he could never return to his normal life and his normal job at a fast food restaurant. He realized that his way of life, his family and friends, and even his own identity would all be affected by his powers, and all he wanted to do was hang out with his friends like old times. I felt for him; I really did. I couldn't imagine learning that your whole life has basically been a lie, but he still remained strong but not unrealistically so. He definitely had to come to grips with this hard news, and you witness him cycling through a whole range of emotions, from anger to despair to frustration.
Besides Sam, there was a wild motley of other characters. This book has a little bit of everything, from a werebear to a talking severed head to a spunky dead girl that owns a Blackberry. There were some characters I enjoyed, as they provided a source of entertainment throughout Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, but there were others I was indifferent to. The latter didn't really affect me emotionally. Douglas, our villain, was one of those. I know he was supposed to be big, bad and scary, but for some reason, I was not quaking in my boots. Usually, I'm a huge fan of the villains (I'd so pick Loki over Thor anytime), but Douglas wasn't a favorite. I guess this was because he didn't have any admirable qualities. I often have a love/hate relationship with the bad guys, but, yeah, Douglas was unimpressive.
One of my favorite characters had to be Ashley. This girl was snarky and so much fun, and I'm sad to say that she doesn't show up until later on in the book. I'm hoping to see more of her in the sequel. Another favorite was Mrs. W. I cannot get enough of older ladies that surprise you with their ferocity and spunk, and she was one of those. As for Sam's friends, I loved how Hold Me Closer, Necromancer emphasized friendship and showed the deep bond Sam shared with his close friends. Ramon, Frank and Brooke were all amazing friends to Sam, and I would have loved to have any of them as a close friend. I also couldn't believe that I grew to like a reanimated severed head so much, but, somehow, McBride made a gross situation almost laughable. Though there were times I felt a little teary-eyed; I mean, it can't be easy not having a body. What if your nose itches? That could be torturous.
One aspect of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer that bothered me was the frequent flashbacks that popped up throughout the book. I understand that we needed to know why Sam never knew his true identity up until now, and how he never realized the true extent of his powers or even discovered their existence. But these flashbacks really bogged down the storyline for me, and it slowed the pace substantially. I felt like the action never really picked up until later on when all hell broke loose. I wanted to see Sam using his powers some more and discovering his abilities, but I guess I'll have to wait until I read the sequel. The story was also told from several different viewpoints, mainly Sam's though, but I was more invested in his than any other and I wish there hadn't been multiple POVs.
Nevertheless, the ending really made up for any other complaints. All of the story lines collided for a crazy finale, which was entertaining and just downright hilarious. McBride did a wonderful job of writing a book that was equal parts chilling and humorous, and I'm looking forward to picking up Necromancing the Stone soon.