Adult urban fantasy marketed by the publisher as young adult fiction
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Reading Level: Young Adult (17+)
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Samhain Corvus Lacroix (Sam) is a college dropout around 20 years old who works in a fast-food restaurant with his best friend Ramon. As far as Sam knows, he's an extremely ordinary guy, until the day he runs into Douglas, an evil necromancer, who tells Sam he is a necromancer, too. Douglas is determined to train Sam in the dark art of necromancy and develop what little innate ability Douglas thinks Sam has, but Sam has no desire to train with Douglas because he's a vicious jerk. Unfortunately for Sam, Douglas refuses to take, "No," for an answer. Sam soon learns the hard way that by continuing to resist Douglas and his minions, he is putting his friends and family at risk.
This story alternates between the points of view of Sam, Douglas, an 18-year-old shapeshifter named Brid who is Sam's love interest, and Sam's mother Tia, who is a witch. The story is well-written and engrossing, and the climax is tense and exciting. As urban fantasy goes, the magic is believably presented, the main characters and supporting cast are all strongly drawn and intriguing, and this looks to be a unique and engaging series.
I only have one complaint, and it is not directed toward the author, but the publisher. It is obviously a marketing decision to get on the young adult bandwagon that has driven the publisher to label this book young adult. But it is definitely not young adult fiction. This book is filled with adult themes, and all of the characters are adults, not high-school students, as is typical and expected for young adult fiction. In addition, the author spends a great deal of time in the points of view of two middle-aged characters, one of which is the totally evil villain--another indicator that this is not young adult fiction but rather written for adults.
It is possible that teens older than the target age for YA fiction of 12-15 might well enjoy this book, but in my opinion it is questionable that the age group it is being marketed to will find the point-of-view characters relatable.
Fantasy World-Building: 4
Action-Adventure Plot: 4