Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
"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 THOUGHTSSilence is beautiful in its possibilities, sparkling with promise and tempting us with a fascinating premise to crack its spine and dive into a new and dark world. While necromancy isn’t necessarily a new and novel paranormal concept, Ms. Sagara’s twist that those with an affinity for the dead are hunted down and assassinated certainly is, and we read on with breath held waiting to see how Emma’s fate unfurls. Though the new, violent take on necromancy piques our curiosity initially, we quickly realize that any questions we have about the ins and outs of Emma’s ability are going to go unanswered, just as the reasons behind a necromancers immediate death sentence is going to continually elude us, leaving nothing but vague half-truths and skilled deflections in their place.
Emma, much like the story itself, has a great deal of potential as a heroine. She’s emotionally strong, rebuilding her life after the tragic death of her boyfriend Nathan and ensuring that her closest friends, especially autistic Michael (the highlight of the story for me), are all taken care of. Her strength though, while admirable, is part of what keeps us from forming a visceral connection to her, as she rarely lets those around her see or share the weight she’s carrying. When she learns of her gift for necromancy and Eric’s subsequent assignment to kill her because of it, she asks very few questions, instead preferring to fumble around in the literal and figurative dark, seemingly content to handle things on her own despite her confusion while we want nothing more than to assume control of her voice and ask everything she refuses to.
In addition to a surprising lack of detail regarding the necromancy, how it works, and why it's feared so greatly that death for the necromancer is the only possible outcome, there are also a myriad of questions left wide open with regard to Emma’s personal life and her relationship with Nathan. We’re told of Nathan’s death early on, but because there are no flashbacks and very few memories of Emma’s time with him, his loss is intangible – an event that elicits a brief flash of sympathy from us before fading into the background, leaving us a bit indifferent to his role in the book rather than completely devastated by his loss. The haunting ache and acute pain we might expect as a result of the death of someone so loved by our protagonist is missing, and we find ourselves frantically searching for a tether to bind us to either characters or story before we’re swept away by the force of all that’s unknown.
Overall, Ms. Sagara has crafted a world more than interesting enough to inspire readers to pick up the second installment, though hopefully moving forward Emma will take pity on us and seek out as much information as possible regarding her ability so we can all find ourselves a little less lost.