First published in: 2010
By: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Meet Sam, just your average guy rocking that fast food career.
Enter Douglas, a powerful and violent necromancer. Douglas immediately recognizes Sam as a fellow necromancer -- which is news to Sam -- and he's none too happy to have a competitor in the crowded paranormal scene in Seattle.
Now Sam has an undead friend on his hands and a hot werewolf girl for company. With just one week to find a way out of Douglas's clutches, can Sam figure out how to use his mysteriously latent powers?
The best comparison I could make for Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is not with another book, but with the TV show Reaper that aired on the CW a couple of years ago. It had a similar premise: College dropout and general slacker discovers he has a secret power and an heretofore unknown purpose. I think the main character in Reaper may have even been called Sam, too (ETA - just checked and he was). Where the 2 are most similar, though, is in tone - both have a decidedly comedic and tongue-in-cheek take on the supernatural and mix the fantastical elements with the very mundane everyday.
And in many ways, Necromancer feels less like a book and more like the pilot episode for a new show - you can practically see all the points where the ad breaks would come in. There's also a lot of set-up for further adventures: At the end of the book, Sam has a new job, some ongoing plot threads to tussle with and his newly-superpowered friends to help him. It's not so much an ending as it is a trailer for the rest of the series.
None of this is really a criticism of the book; it all adds up to a funny, well-paced, easily digested read that promises more adventures in the same vein. You can forgive its reliance on tropes, because the book itself is happy to admit them and doesn't take itself seriously. It's mission is to entertain and it does so. It's the kind of book you can read in one sitting and not get bored.
However, it's also the kind of book you can put down and not be desperate to find out what happens next. This is a really difficult book for me to review, because I enjoyed it, but couldn't love it. Part of it was the seen-it-all-before feeling; even though I think Necromancer handles its genre better than some other novels I've read, ultimately I think there wasn't enough there that was unique enough to make me prioritise this series above all the others.
I do think anybody who reads this would probably like it, though, so if the story appeals to you, I say go for it. I also think it's a great book for getting teenage boys to read - as well as having humour, it's very visual and there's lots of fighting and action. And there's a hot naked girl, too, if they need any more convincing!
Rating: 3.5 stars