Necromancing the Stone

Author: Lish McBride

Considering he’s gone from burger flipper to necromancer in one fell swoop, Sam LaCroix is doing a pretty good job with all the Council duties, lawn-gnome rebellions, were-bear best friend, fey hound/werewolf girlfriend, newly-inherited from his worst enemy house and money, etc. It’s kind of a lot to handle, but he’s dealing–with the support of his friends and the somewhat grudging aid of his house pukis, James. Who used to work for his worst enemy, Douglas Montgomery, until Sam killed Douglas–quite justifiably. All seems challenging but pretty much manageable until the Blackthorn pack’s leader turns up dead . . . and there’s this niggling feeling that maybe Douglas isn’t as dead as everyone thinks.

Necromancing the Stone is a great follow up to McBride’s first book, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. It picks up the story pretty much where the first volume left off, and carries through solidly with a delightful blend of dramatic tension and sardonic humor. Sam and the people close to him have some pretty incredible personalities, and the writing brings them out wonderfully without being overdone. The balance of action, mystery, romance, friendship, and hilarity is nicely done, although some might find it tending a bit too much toward the weirdly silly. But you’re dealing with some pretty intense and deep stuff here, so the tension has to go somewhere–or at least that’s what Sam would say. It kind of makes me frustrated that McBride makes Douglas someone I can’t entirely hate; but she does it so skillfully, making him a complex human being in spite of his general evilness, that I still enjoyed the story. I think my favorite part is her treatment of James: he is an extremely intelligent, sophisticated, and talented individual, but he’s going through all the emotional uproar of the teenage years while at the same time dealing with complicated divided loyalties. He’s kind of incomprehensible sometimes, but I like him all the more for that. Necromancing the Stone comes with high recommendations for anyone upper teens and above who enjoys meaningful but slightly absurd urban fantasy.

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