Format: Kindle, 267 pages
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Horror / Dystopian
When I was younger, my mother saved my settlement from the Unblessed Dead that would have killed us all. It cost her everything to reveal her necromancy and sent shockwaves through our stringent religious settlement. Convicted of heresy against our sacred Lost Texts, she died soon after.
Since then, I have worked hard to maintain my Pious Standing so that when I turn eighteen I will be selected by a suitable husband at the Bridal Auction.
As the large clock in town square ticks down to my eighteenth birthday, the dead have been appearing in my garden. If I’m discovered, I’ll face the Necromancer Trial just as my mother, oldest sister, and I did all those years ago. This time I fear I will not survive it.
To add to my worries, an enigmatic handsome young man has arrived in the settlement. Around him swirls a green aura only I can see. Is he here to help me? Or does he have more nefarious plans?
My name is Ilyse Nott, and I fear I am a necromancer. If I am, my life is over.
The Unblessed Dead is the first installment in Rhiannon Frater's The Unblessed Dead series. 17-year old Ilyse Nott is the protagonist of a series that is a cross between The Walking Dead and The Handmaid's Tale. It is a series that is set way off into the distant future. So far into the future, that they are now calling the time frame Anno Apocalypse. In this world, the dead have risen, America has fallen, & women can control the dead and are called Necromancers. In this world, necromancers are burned at the stake just like witches during the Salem Witches trial.
In the Atonement Settlement, the dead are called the Unblessed Dead. Ever since her mother saved Atonement from the Unblessed Dead, Ilyse has been under the microscope by corrupt leaders called the Council of Crats who see her as a threat to their way of life. Ilyse and her older sister Angelina were put through one of the most awful tests imaginable in order to prove that she isn't going to follow in her mother's footsteps when it comes to being a necromancer. A test that cost Ilyse her older sister who presumably jumped the wall surrounding Atonement and disappeared into the Deadlands.
Ilyse has attempted to live a life of piety and serenity in order to do well in the Bridal Auction that all 18-year old young women are required to attend. The auction is just what you expect; eligible men, some for the second time, bidding on a group of women to be their wives. If a woman is not chosen, she becomes one of the Unclaimed. She attends a school called Atonement School of Young Ladies. She lives in a society where the Elders have shunned technology, but it is not fully banned.
It is a society that buries their dead in a place called Perdition Sanctuary. It is a society that truly believes that one day the Three Gods will rise up the Unblessed. It is a society that lives under the so called Lost Texts. It's supposed to guide the behavior of men and women, but women are unfairly treated as though they are living in the dark ages. Only the male patriarchy can approve where a woman goes, and whether or not she can leave the home. It is a rarity that women can leave Atonement by themselves for a more progressive place in the Republic.
It is also believed that only women can be necromancer's because they are weak and more corruptible by the devil women. WIth everyone closely watching Ilyse to see if she exhibits the same abhorrent behaviors that her mother did, one slip up, one mistake can be fatal. It doesn't help when she finds one of the dead standing in her garden. Ilyse's only real allies are her sister Carrie, Headmistress Simmons who believes that Ilyse should be able to leave an attend the Academy, and a boy named Quade who arrives in town with some idea that Ilyse is who he has been sent to find. Quade is what's called an Undertaker; an Undertaker can sense zombies and can tell when they are around but can't control them like a necromancer. Quade also works for an organization called Chandry where they collect and train necromancers. Hopefully, we will find more about the Republic, the Chandry, The Enclave, The Radiated Lands and the Deadlands in the next installment.
I have to say that I absolutely loved & felt for Ilyse's sister Carrie. She has a rebellious spirit, and a strong resolve, but has not a bone of jealousy in her entire body when it comes to her older sister. She stands shoulder to shoulder with her through the harshest times imaginable when Ilyse is once again thrust into the spotlight and accused of being a necromancer. I also loved their little brother Rennor who doesn't let a little thing like a disability get in his way. I am once again impressed by the author's world building and her intensive storyline that really made me grind my teeth at times. Her writing makes you want to jump into the story and throttle the villain to an inch of their lives.
The author was kind enough to share with me the first two installments in this series. Today, I post the first installment, next week I will post the second and then patiently wait until the third installment is released.