Hold me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1)
By: Lish McBride
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date: October 12, 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 can’t usually stand contemporary fiction involving high school–but the one exception to that is if it has weird magic, a funk vibe, and a clueless teenage/twenty-something guy as the MC. Such has been the case with Going Bovine, White Cat, and now Hold me Closer, Necromancer. I don’t know why these amuse me so much, they just do (can I blame my brothers?)
Sam LaCroix is your average twenty-something college dropout, working at a fast food burger joint to pay the bills. Until, that is, he plays a prank and attracts the ire of a necromancer named Douglas. Turns out, Sam is a necromancer as well, just one seemingly without powers. And, aided by his friends, he’s trying to get to the bottom of why before Douglas can carve him up.
This wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was highly amusing. Sam really did remind me of my brother–genuine, sweet, just aimless and lacking purpose. And, of course, learning about his necromantic powers was quite a bit of purpose. I also liked how it was mostly him and his similarly employed friends taking on an institution of weird creepy magic. Ramon was an especially fun character–a smartass skater punk who cares deeply about his friends. But I also thought Brooke, cheerleader turned talking head, was a fun character. Actually, I liked all of the characters.
I also thought Sam’s piecing together of why he’s a necromancer sans power was interesting. I enjoyed the world that McBride wrote–tenuous alliances between different types of magical creatures, struggling to hold on in a modern world. Tia Lacroix, Sam’s mom, was a great character, Douglas was a creepy-as-all-get-out villain, and little touches like Sam’s care for his newly-discovered necromantic half sisters was great. Also, the romance with Fey-wolf hybrid Brin was relatable, and also fun.
The writing was a little choppy in some parts, and a little formulaic in others. It followed the guidelines for a funky magical coming-of-age, but I thought that almost strengthened things. I was fairly certain I knew what was coming, but the book still surprised me on occasion. Where I thought the book did fun things was throwing such a funky cast of characters into this formulaic plot. Even the places where the writing was a bit clunky was enlivened by the bright, sassy people on the page.
And of course, the ending set up everything required for an interesting sequel. All of the fun cast of characters are still around, plus Sam is set to play a role in that tenuous alliance situation, plus there’s a thread of doubt about whether Douglas is still around. And, of course, more Sam-Brin romance fun stuff. This is a sequel I intend to find and read.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.