When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees first-hand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she just wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, but that’s a challenge when a beautiful otherworldly man, who claims to be her guardian, saves her life. Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on a spirit she raised, but new zombies attack—zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he’s not trying to set anything right. To save her own life, and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy has to figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her—a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.-Goodreads summary
Publication Date: October 3, 2013.
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Favorite Quote from the Book:
“I would learn and understand this gift. In time, I would love it. I belonged here. This was who I am.”
Judge the Book by its Cover:
Not a typical YA cover; it’s different. I enjoy the cemetery setting with the raven as it alludes to important features of the novel. After reading the novel, I see the relations this cover has with the novel, and I appreciate authors and cover artists who spend time making covers like these possible.
Things that Made Me Happy:
The character Judy has the admirable quality of determination to do good deeds with her powers. Despite being recently introduced to her abilities, Judy ceaselessly uses her knowledge (and discovers methods to use her powers) in order to benefit others. She truly is a caring character and is admirable to the audience.
Things that Made Me Unhappy:
Sadly, many elements make my unhappy about this novel. Initially, I was extremely excited about the genre; a post-apocalyptic zombie book with some magical elements sound extremely appealing to the reader. However, the plot summary and publisher’s blurb is extremely misleading. Yes, this book is a post-apocalyptic zombie book with magic, but it also has a middle age historical feeling combined with steampunk, urban fantasy, and romance elements. In short, this book is a combination of too many genres. Due to all these genres, none of them are properly treated in the novel; they are simply introduced and never fully explained so as to introduce more elements of various genres. Indeed, this can be appealing to a reader, but it is unsatisfactory because none of these genres are treated with dignity and professionalism. Rather, they are imitations of other books. Honestly, this book has so much potential but it is hindered by involving too many other book genres.
Thus, the combination of all these genres make the world-building nonexistent and unbelievable. For example, the apocalypse that created the zombies is stated in the novel, but it is not explained. Readers are left questioning what exactly caused and happened in the apocalypse and how zombies are created from it. If this initially would have been explained towards the beginning of the novel, I believe this would have substantially aided the world-building in the novel because the totally unbelievable magical, steampunk, and urban fantasy elements could have been explained rather than suddenly thrown in the plot line. It’s disheartening because there is no explanation of any of these genre elements, especially the magical elements. How are certain characters magical and others aren’t? Is magic familiar in the world or do the sorcerers need to hide it? When an author introduces these genre elements, especially fantasy, in novels, he or she wants to secure the world building which is something Cleary fails to do in this novel. These are rather pertinent questions to the plot line which aren’t really answered which again leave the reader frustrated.
Of course, there is romance in this novel, and you guessed it! There is also a love triangle. I believe on page 46 of this 338 page novel, Judy expresses interest of one of these men ON THE FIRST DAY SHE MEETS HIM. She knows nothing about the man; he just shows up when she wakes up, and suddenly Judy is recognizing his “gorgeous attributes” as he gives her this internal longing inside her body. Give me a break. Cut the hormones. Not every teenager has THAT MUCH angst. Additionally, the other man is presumably much older than her; from his description and actions, I assume he is in his late twenties or early thirties. The romance and love triangle are just unnecessary and detract from the other genres. Really, not every young adult novel needs to include romance or even a love triangle to be appreciated and adored by the audience. Honestly, it is getting overdone and typically isn’t executed well.
One would think I am done with my negative feelings about this book, but I am not done! Additionally, many elements of this plot are predictable and blatantly stated by Cleary throughout the novel. When a plot twist occurs, the reader is not amused because this has been stated by the author previously. One of the greatest pieces of advice that I have received regarding writing fiction is to “Show. Don’t tell.” In this novel, there is an abundance of telling and limited showing. Since everything is rather predictable in this book, I frequently got bored and, again, this added to my frustration. Overall, the predictability, overemphasis of every character’s “suspicion,” and the suspected plot twist make this book dull.
Lastly, I believe the word “awkward” sufficiently describes the writing style of this book. Frequently, actions and days would pass without any sort of hint that the scene is changing. In other words, the transitions are weak and the sudden switch in settings lead to confusion. For example, Judy’s sudden arrival in town when she is at home in the previous sentence leave readers questioning about the turn of events. Likewise, the chapters’ endings are just as random in the novel, too. Judy is eating, and the chapter ends; Judy is saving a friend, and the chapter ends. The differing resolutions at the chapters just aggravate the readers. Simply, there is no consistency with Cleary’s writing style whether its settings, dialogues, or chapters’ resolutions.
★ ★ 2/5 stars!
I wouldn’t recommend this book as a high-priority TBR book for anyone; however, if you have a day to yourself, and you enjoy an eclectic novel and don’t mind inconsistencies, then read this book. It’s not awful; it’s just not my favorite book.
*I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*