Publication Date: October 12, 2010
2011:William C. Morris YA Debut Award Nominee, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
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?
(Highlight to view Spoilers)
I want to admit up front that I think Lish McBride's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer has some problems that (in another book) would probably preclude it from being a 4 star book. However, it is like this book was made just for me. I love McBride's aesthetic--the cover art, the colors, the typography (header and body font choices) all combined to make a book that I found very visually appealing. The corny title (and subsequent chapter titles) are hell on a music addict--the ear-worms! But they were so perfectly suited as well! If you know the song, you get why she chose that lyric--if not, well, you probably get it anyway. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is hilarious in a wry, deadpan, darkly humorous sort of way; and I just couldn't get enough of McBride's writing. So, problems? Yeah, whatever! They were too small to care. It was fun to read, I loved the characters, the story was engaging, and I like the overall experience of reading it.
Now for the responsible reviewer portion of this post.
Here's the thing, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is supposed to be an action/adventure sort of book--but it isn't. There are things the characters should be be getting done! Things they should be dealing with or figuring out! Instead, they hang out together being really, really funny while waiting for something to happen. Sam, our "hero," is almost completely passive or reactionary. I found myself wondering how he could possibly get out of whichever situation he was in without doing anything. Luckily, everyone he chose to trust--and the list was long--ended up being really helpful and resourceful; and the evil bad guy just makes incredibly stupid decisions for all his supposed intelligence. McBride created some excellent characters: quirky, intelligent, likable guys and gals, but I still wanted a little more oomph from them than I got. Douglas had a similarly great set-up without really being used. He had his hands in all sorts of dirty cookie jars, but we never really get any motivation; why? (Hmm, maybe that will be in the next books?)
On a more serious note, Sam's mom really bothered me. She is portrayed as this wonderfully loving woman, but actions speak louder than words--and her actions are super selfish and self-centered. (Spoiler) She basically amputated a major portion of what made Sam him, and did nothing to address the situation. Power that was strong enough to leak out of two bindings and an amulet needs to be dealt with. (End Spoiler) I get why that had to be done at first. However, after she had a loving and supportive husband and the resources and ability to relocate elsewhere, it just doesn't make sense why she would continue the charade. Sam was able to find tons of knowledgeable people willing to help him in a matter of days. His mom had years. Either his mom is a despicable person who didn't want to leave because she liked her house and business and doesn't mind lying about who they all really are, or this is a major fail in plot development.
Either way, though, it wasn't enough to change the overall funny, entertaining, highly enjoyable reading experience. And I will be coming back for the next installment of the Necromancer series (Necromancing the Stone) with giddy anticipation.
This review also appears on Goodreads. I purchased my copy from Barnes & Noble for Nook.