Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

Author: Michelle Sagara
Series: Queen of the Dead (Book 1)
Publication: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)

Description: It began in the graveyard…

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there--Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death...

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma’s group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone’s guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma’s true destiny was...

My Thoughts: SILENCE was an engaging and unique paranormal story. Emma has been just going through the motions since her boyfriend died in a car accident the past summer. If anyone asks, she says she is fine but no one, least of all herself, really believes it. She has taken to spending a lot of time in the cemetery by Nathan's grave with only her elderly pet rottweiler Petal as her companion.

One evening she meets the new boy at school - Eric - and a strange older lady there. The lady kisses her and hands her a lantern before disappearing. Emma is immediately struck down with what she thinks is a major migraine. Eric takes her home and the next day, when she is struck down again at school, takes her to the emergency room where she sees her father. The only thing is, her father died a number of years ago. But when Emma touches him, not only does she see him but so do the other people with her.

Eric has come to kill her before she learns what she can do as a necromancer. But something about Emma's confusion and the way she interacts with the dead, stays his hand. Emma isn't what he thought necromancers were. Emma doesn't want power over the dead.

What I liked most about this story, besides the interesting world building, were the relationships that Emma has with her friends. Emma has a very strong support network in her best friend Allison, her friend Michael, and her friend Amy. Each of the supporting characters are well-written and well-rounded characters. Michael is particularly unique as he is high functioning autistic. The way his friends accept him for who he is is rather amazing. His own unique world view also helps move the plot along when another necromancer, this one quite evil, comes to try to kill Emma and steal her powers.

A lot of this story has Emma trying to learn about necromancers and trying to use her powers. Her main goal is to rescue a four-year-old who died in a burning building and who is still trapped there because of his power. Her sympathy for the child's plight is what makes her different than most necromancers.

I liked Emma's relationship with Eric and with Eric's partner Chase. It wasn't at all a romance because Emma's heart is still with her boyfriend Nathan. But the mutual respect and liking between them added to the richness of the story. And the way Eric and Chase bickered and argued provided some comic relief to a story that was really emotionally intense.

Fans of paranormals will enjoy this unique story.

Favorite Quote:
"Eric, why is it important to you that I—that I stop seeing the dead?"

"Because," he replied slowly, "then I won't have to kill you."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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