Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer - Lish McBride

The Facts
Author: Lish McBride
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Date of Publication: November 2010
Length: 348 pages

The Fiction
From Penguin: 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?

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 (well kind of) 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 (I was actually a bit annoyed when the novel changes from Sam’s first person narration to a third-person because I really enjoyed reading from his point of view). McBride rounds out the novel with a great group of supporting characters/fellow fry cooks – Ramon, Brooke and young Frank.

As I mentioned above, the novel switches between Sam’s point of view as he begins to discover his supernatural abilities, and the history and stories of a secretive council of paranormal beings (that Sam is destined to be a part of). At first I found these other plots slightly off-putting (uhhh excuse me, where is the lovely Samhain?) because I was so involved with Sam and the Plumpy’s gang, but as the two begin to interconnect you can certainly appreciate and enjoy both narratives and the world McBride creates.
The two other key ‘supe’ (yanking this term from Charlaine Harris please and thank you!) characters, Brid and Douglas are both carefully fleshed out and given the attention they deserve - all of McBride’s characters are given moments of importance and carefully thought out personality traits, which I really liked. I have to say I especially appreciated seeing a strong female character of the supernatural persuasion (no lustful vampires or twee fairies) - Brid is intelligent, independent and fiercely loyal.

I feel like I should warn readers that as suggested earlier, Hold Me Closer Necromancer falls at the older end of YA and there is some ‘mature’ content (language, violence and sexual references) so if this isn’t really your thing or you are a young’un, err on the side of caution I suppose.

I’m not quite sure what else to say without accidently revealing major plot information or oversharing on my enthusiasm for this book. Oh, and something small but a detail 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 (and oh my goodness – would make for an amazing mix CD! Ohhhh, must get onto that. Edit - I did get onto that! You can list to my Hold Me Closer Necromancer playlist here). I'm really hoping there is a sequel in the works, because whilst Lish McBride achieves a sense of resolution, I can't help but want to re-visit Sam, Brid and the Plumpy's crew and see how they're holding up in a few month's time. 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.


Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Oh I am so glad you enjoyed this as I just got a copy! I love books full of smarts and snarks. Can't wait to get started :)

Miss Friday said...

Nic, I feel like you'll really enjoy it (at least I hope you do!). Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it

Leanne said...

I'm with you on this one! Best title ever, and I really enjoyed it. I didn't think there was anything different or interesting paranormal YA could do, but I was wrong. I particularly loved Brid - what an awesome girl.

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