High atop Hathorne Hill, near Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992,Read Review
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 can a bratty harbinger named Ashley save his skin?
Well I had my doubts when I started reading this book - the paranormal genre seems to be running out of ideas, but I ended up really liking this book.
If you can imagine Harry Potter meets Buffy (and I mean this in a positive way) you'll have it close. The plot is vaguely HP (what YA fantasy isn't these days) a regular boy discovers he has secret powers, he must fight a powerful evil guy (no boarding school) who wishes to do him in because he is a threat. But the plot has detail and twists that are fresh, the writing/dialogues are witty and snappy (like Buffy episodes were) and Sam's love interest is a strong female character worth her salt. I look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out and will definitely recommend this to kids looking for a good paranormal read.
‘Hold me Closer, Necromancer’ is the YA paranormal debut from Lish McBride.
Samhain Corvus Hatfield is not having a good day. Never mind that he’s a college drop-out working minimum wage at fast-food joint, Plumpy’s. . . the real problem started after a disastrous game of potato hockey (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds!). One busted taillight later and Samhain ‘Sam’ comes face-to-face with a creepy guy called Douglas Montgomery who accuses Sam of hiding from ‘the Council’ and warns of dire consequences. Sam doesn’t really take the creepy dude seriously. . . until one of his friends winds up head-less.
‘Hold Me Closer, Necromancer’ is amazing. From page one I knew that Lish McBride had my sense of humour and that Sam was the sort of guy I’d totally dig. It took one line of dialogue and I knew I’d love this book, hardcore;
I folded my arms across my chest. “Well, I’m not Christian, so I can covet. I can covet like a fiend.”If I had to describe it, I’d say the book is a cross between ‘Clerks’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. A rambunctious read that teeters on the edge between being hilariously funny and scarily dark. Sam is a slacker – ironically working in fast-food but going nowhere fast. He pals around with his best friend, fry-cook Ramon and fellow Plumpy’s workers Brooke and Frank. Sam has never really felt as though he fits in, and after one disastrous encounter with Douglas Montgomery, he starts to understand why. As much as the book is about Sam discovering his necromancy ‘powers’ it’s also a bit of a soul-search for this disenfranchised freeloader. Lish McBride has written Sam with a lot of heart beneath the grease-stains, and cool as it is to raise the dead, half the fun is in going along with Sam on his heritage journey.
‘Hold me Closer, Necromancer’ is hilariously funny. Serious laugh-out-loud, chortle-on-the-train kind of funny. But it’s also deliciously dark. Much the way that Joss Whedon could deliver a brilliant one-liner followed by blood and gore, Lish McBride likewise combines high humour with frightening Gothicism. Douglas Montgomery is a hair-raising bad-guy, made all the creepier for McBride occasionally writing from his perspective. Now, normally I hate it when an author changes character POV, especially when they offer the antagonist’s perspective. But I loved McBride’s change-up; going from Sam’s care-free voice to Montgomery’s chilling narration was a wonderful counter-point;
“Listen carefully. When we summon, when we raise, we are trespassing in death’s domain. For that passage, we must pay.” He enunciated each word, speaking slowly and clearly, like I was a child. “When we pay, we must use death’s coin. Flesh, blood, sacrifice, these are tender that death understands.”
There is also romance for Sam. Douglas Montgomery is torturing another teenage supernatural - Brid is a hybrid hell-hound and werewolf, she’s also next-in-line to her pack’s throne. She and Sam cross paths when Montgomery’s twisted necromancy games throw them in a cage together. . . hotness ensues.
Sam is the stand-out character of this book. He is definitely a case of ordinary individual in extraordinary circumstances and he’s totally relatable. I loved how ‘average Joe’ he was; even more that he’s a direction-less young adult who is enjoying the typical slacker lifestyle before learning of his supernatural abilities. I kept picturing Sam as Xander from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – a quick-wit coupled with tender heartedness. I also loved that his slackerness was consistent throughout the book, even during high-drama;
“That’s it? C’mon, in the movies you can’t get a Bond villain to shut up. You’re not even going to outline your evil plan for me? Maybe if you pick up your cat and pet it while sitting in an oversized chair, something will come to you.” Was that Bond or Austin Powers? Or Inspector Gadget? It was amazing how easy it was to get those things confused.‘Hold Me Closer, Necromancer’ is a fantastic debut novel. I don’t know if it’s the first in a series, but I damn well hope so! Lish McBride is a wonderful new voice on the YA paranormal scene, a definite must-read.
Lish McBride, you had me at the title. No really. I saw it bandied around the Internet for the past couple of months and every time it managed to make me chuckle. I get a copy from my local library, and Lish, you did not disappoint! Your unique spin on the overflowing paranormal YA genre is fresh and engaging (not to mention, maintains an excellent balance of snark and smarts).
Seriously. I was very impressed with Hold Me Closer Necromancer! Sam is such an easy character to like – a bit of a slacker and uni drop out, he’s stuck behind the fryer at Plumpy’s whilst trying (somewhat) to sort himself out. I really appreciated the fact that Sam was slightly older than your usual YA protagonist, and with this came a new set of issues he’s trying to deal with (life after high school, what happens when college doesn’t work out) and social situations to explore. Anyway, Sam is a very relatable protagonist and his voice is well-developed and McBride rounds out the novel with a great group of supporting characters/fellow fry cooks – Ramon, Brooke and young Frank.
One of the other elements I loved in Hold Me Closer Necromancer was the use of song titles for each chapter (yes, sometimes this is mega corny) but as the songs were so perfectly selected – like Dead Man’s Party and Birdhouse in Your Soul, it totally worked (I actually loved the song titles so much, I made a Necromancer mix cd).
All I can say is for someone who isn't really a huge fan of paranormal young adult fiction, I honestly can’t recommend this highly enough.