Favorite Quote: “That was more than enough to label me a pariah among my kind. Not that I hadn’t already been branded. Liar. Thief. Murderer.”
Reviewed by Tori
Broken and scared, Grier Woolworth just wants to get her life back on track and heal from the trauma of her incarceration. An assistant necromancer, she lost everything when she was accused of killing her mentor and sentenced to life in prison without a trial. Kept drugged and cooperative while locked up, she is released by a mysterious benefactor when it becomes apparent that her style of necromancy is quite unusual and much in demand. With her sentient house, her childhood best friends, and a zombie parakeet, Grier seeks to rebuild her life but the paranormal society still wants their pound of flesh and they aren’t picky about how they get it.
Edwards once again writes the beginning of an intriguing urban fantasy that takes readers on an adventure into the strange and fantastical. Choosing a new look at necromancy and vampirism, Edwards takes the unexpected route by using necromancers the creator of vampires… for a price. Interesting characters, a strong world with a layered base, and plenty of avenues for expansion assure me this will be series to watch.
I liked meeting Grier; she grew on me quickly. Despite being orphaned at an early age and raised by her mentor whom she is then accused of killing, she doesn’t give off a “woe is me” vibe. She takes care of her business. Magically gifted, she is essentially broken from five years of drugs and torture during her incarceration. Released early, she discovers all her assets were seized by relatives upon her conviction and she is now doing haunted tours in order to survive. She is a shell of her former self and the reader instantly feels protective of her. She spends most of the book healing while trying to pick up the remnants of her old life though I admire her ingenuity and a healthy sense of self-preservation. I would have liked a little more age and fleshing out of her character. Edwards doles out Grier’s background sparingly, just enough to wet our appetite and the fact she’s only twenty one gives the story a faint NA feel to it.
There are a plethora of fascinating characters who all seem to be hiding something. Various vampires, family members, etc…everyone wants a piece of Grier for one reason or another. Her best friends-twin siblings Amelia and Boaz-are an interesting duo and I feel there is much more to both of them then what Edwards is showing. Boaz comes off as a flirty serial dater yet there is a spark of more between him and Grier though they both know nothing is possible now. Especially after Boaz is drafted into being Sentinel; the group who runs the prisons and tortured Grier. Grier’s house, Woolly, made me chuckle the whole book. I love a house with attitude and this house has it in spades.
The story starts out with a bang and continues on in that fashion till the end. The main conflict and its various plotlines are brimming with suspense, mystery, and horror as Grier tries to figure out who murdered her mentor and set her up while trying to understand why the vampires want her so bad they are willing to kidnap her. There is a lot going on and while I enjoyed the story, this was mainly a setup book. Edwards tosses a lot at us in the beginning and it takes a while for the pace to settle for easy reading. Even with the resolution of the main conflict, I was still left with questions that I’m hoping book two, How to Claim an Undead Soul, will answer.