Author: Michelle Sagara
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: The Queen of the Dead (Book 1)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages
ISBN-10: 0756407427 (DAW Books)
ISBN-13: 978-0756407421 (DAW Books)
Reviewed by: Emmy
It began in the graveyard. Ever since her boyfriend Nathan 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. 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….
Quick & Dirty: The first installment in The Queen of the Dead series lays out all the relationships that will push the plot forward. It’s a fast, engaging read that brings ghosts and Necromancers into colliding with the reality the rest of us live in.
Opening Sentence: Everything happens at night.
Emma’s experienced a lot of loss in her life. Her father, years ago, and then just last summer her boyfriend Nathan died in a car accident. Her first love, his death tore her to pieces. Emma still visits his grave when she walks her dog Petal at night. It’s quite there and she doesn’t have to make excuses to anyone or get questioned about her feelings. In the quite night of the cemetery she can just be. Until one night Petal takes off running and Emma comes face to face with an old crone out of a nightmare. A crone who just so happens to be talking with Eric, the new boy at school. When the old crone lets Emma take the freezing paper lantern from her hands, everything changes.
She can see the dead. At school, on the street, anywhere they are and Eric knows why. Except, Eric won’t say anything — except that she needs to forget it. To try and let everything fade away so it doesn’t exist for her anymore. Because if she keeps interacting with the ghosts, if she keeps transitioning, he’ll have to kill her. But Emma can’t stay out of it. There’s more to Emma than being a budding Necromancer, she’s experienced too much grief to let the dead wander for all eternity. She wants to move them on. Where to, she doesn’t know, but the dead see the light just out of reach and Emma’s determined to get them there.
The stakes are high for Emma as she fights side-by-side with the boys sent to kill her. While Emma might not be like other Necromancers, the others don’t know that. Some of them are coming for her. They’ll train her to suck the power from the dead and use it for magic. But Emma is more powerful, more prepared than they think she is. Even if she doesn’t know what to do, the dead around her have met Necromancers before. And they’re going to fight for Emma’s side this time.
It’s really the characters that carry Silence, while the plot is good it’s still written as the first installment of something bigger. Allison is Emma’s best friend. While not a social outcast, she’s definitely not moving in the same social sphere as Emma. Emma can make conversation and wear cute clothes, Allison doesn’t like shopping and she certainly isn’t interested in the social games the popular kids play. Michael has been Emma and Allison’s friend for over a decade. A high functioning autistic, he’s also their responsibility to some extent. They take care of him and keep to his schedule. But he isn’t a liability. In fact, in a lot of ways he’s more helpful than Allison when it comes to the Necromancers.
I really enjoyed Silence because of the characters and the emotions Sagara evoked. While it has a complete plot arc, it’s definitely the first of a series — hopefully a long one. This novel isn’t a romance in any respects, but the series may evolve to have one later. It made for a nice change of pace from other young adult books. I really love the dichotomy of Eric and Chase, his partner and fellow hunter, and the way they both handle Emma as a “good necromancer.” There was an underlying theme to Silence, whether the dead are still real people; that I hope is further explored in the sequel. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of this series.
She heard the screaming again and turned. Street and cars. Nothing else. Frowning, she saud, “I don’t think the voice I can hear is a dead person’s voice.”
Eric said nothing, which was starting to get old.
“I think–I think it might be his mother’s voice.”
“Emma, let it go. Please. If it’s strong enough that you can hear her voice, he is too strong for you.”
“A living four year old and a dead four year old are not the same. Trust me.”
The Queen of the Dead Series:
FTC Advisory: Penguin/DAW Books provided me with a copy of Silence. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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