Thursday, January 1, 2015

#Review - Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride (YA, Fantasy, Paranormal) #ARCHIVE

Series: Necromancer # 2
Format: Hardcover, 344 pages
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Source: Library 
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal / Fantasy

With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well . . . not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.

But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

Necromancing the Stone is the long awaited sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Six weeks after the end of Hold Me Closer, vegetarian Necromancer Samhaim "Sam" LaCroix is no longer just a fry cook or college dropout. He is a full fledged necromancer, a member of the Council that has Vampires, witches, satyrs, dryads, and furies. He has also taken Douglas Montgomery's possessions, including his home filled with unusual and dark trinkets. Yet, Sam is still not exactly comfortable with who he is, or how he came about his apparent wealth.

Sam is surrounded by his apparent girlfriend Bridin Blackthorn (Fey/were shifter), best friend Ramon (Bear shifter), James (shapeshifting manservant) and a slew of so called security measures from gnomes, gladiators, a Minotaur, and nymphs. But, let's not forget about Ashley (harbinger), Brooke (ghost), Frank, and the Blackthorn pack who is protecting Sam and helping him train. Sam isn't off the hook yet with Douglas, or his machinations to get even with him, his family, or Brannoc Blackthorn, the were Alpha.

I think the most interesting part of this story, was the back story of not only Douglas, but also James, and how he came to serve Douglas for so long. I liked that other characters make their debut in this book, including Gary the Bigfoot, and a long reunion with Sam's uncle. I liked that Sam's sister, Haley, was written to have a humorous streak, as well as a bit of a soft spot for James. As with the previous installment, McBride manages to add some humorous moments with moments of mystery, and some heartbreaking ones as well.

Sam is an unusual character for this genre. He is an honest to goodness good guy with a desire to treat those who he has come to call his family, with respect and dignity. He feels sorry for what happened to Ramon, and Brooke and has tried to make up for it. He has gone from being a single minded person, to coming to accept that he has major powers that affects everyone around him.

Here is where I differ from others: Necromancing the Stone is NOT a young adult themed novel. Every where I go, I have seen reviewers claiming that a 20 something is considered young adult. Perhaps. From the very first book, McBride told readers that Sam was in his 20's. I am not sure when a 20 something character was considered young adult, but there you have it. Perhaps you can call the mini-series new adult, but without all the sexual situations. You can definitely call it more of an adult Urban fantasy duology than young adult.

As stated above, Necromancing the Stone is the final book in the Necromancer series. It's sad because I don't think this series was necessarily wrapped up in a way that completes Sam and his cohorts journey. I didn't like how Sam's personal life turned out. Since this book was released in 2012, and it is now 2015, and McBride has since moved on to her new Firebug series, I seriously doubt we shall see another Sam story. I doubt we will ever know if the rollercoaster romance between Brid and Sam works out, or if James ever gets used to having a real family around him.

In the end, Necromancing the Stone is a story that is told in dual narratives by Sam (first) and Douglas (third). We get to see not only Sam's struggles to hold himself together and take charge of his own destiny, but Douglas's final movements right up until the last confrontation with Sam that absolutely surprised me. We get to see an adorable chupacabra named Taco, to a more tender moment with Douglas and James that really ends the story in a way that makes perfect sense.

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