By: Michelle Sagara
"'Eric, why is it important to you that I--that I stop seeing the dead?'
'Because,' he replied slowly, 'then I won't have to kill you.'"
Description 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....
I'm a big fan of Michelle Sagara; her fantasy series, The Chronicles of Elantra, are some of my favorite books. So when I found out that she was writing a YA novel, I got super-excited and had that sucker ordered for our library. Unlike Elantra, this book takes place in the present-day real world. Or as real as you can get when the heroine sees dead people.
This is a cool story of a girl coming to grips with the impossible. Emma understands death and grief after losing her father at a young age and losing her boyfriend within the year. She finds peace and quiet walking her dog (an overweight rottweiler named Petal) in the local cemetary at night, where she just sits at her boyfriend's grave. That peace is forever altered when she meets a boy named Eric in the graveyard and an ancient woman with a strang lantern. I'm not entirely sure if she's given the "gift" of seeing the dead, or if it's just awakened at this point, but this ability immediately puts Emma in danger. It makes Emma a necromancer and it's Eric's job to hunt and kill them.
In this world, necromancer's are BAD. They steal energy from the dead to create their magic, and generally they use that power for evil. Emma, though, has no desire to turn evil or use others for her own means; instead, she wants to help the dead move on. Figuring out how to do that whilst hanging out with the guy who may have to kill her is not exactly easy thing, but she somehow manages to do so, leading to a cool ending and an intriguing cliff hanger.
I really enjoyed this book. Michelle writes heroines that have a great depth of conviction and desire to help her fellow man. The story rolls along at a good pace and the characters are interesting and relatable. There is some language in this book, and though the book isn't flooded with cursing, if that's something you don't like, please be aware that it's there. This is a great addition to the paranormal genre and I highly recommend it.