Book Review: Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co

First Published: 12th October 2010

Format: Hardback

Pages: 352

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8/10


‘Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?’

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was a breath a fresh air in a genre I have generally come to avoid. 

There were werewolves, necromancers, witches, fairies, zombies, ghosts, talking severed heads. There’s nothing we haven’t really seen before and dare I say it, probably nothing too original plot-wise either, but that doesn’t stop Hold Me Closer from being a great read.  There’s no angsty ‘true-love’. No ‘vegetarian’ vampires. Best of all, Hold Me Closer doesn’t bother to take itself too seriously. There were lots of genuinely funny moments that had me laughing loudly to myself. Like a demented person.

Fortunately, I read this one at home and not on the train.

Sam was a protagonist I instantly liked. Unlike the devastatingly handsome, tortured, noble souls we tend to see in most YA paranormal fiction, Sam is your average guy. A bit of a loner, self-deprecating, and in all honestly, a bit useless. Which I kind of liked. I enjoyed his ridiculous, and often times, hilarious, narrative. I also enjoyed reading YA told (mostly) from a guy’s perspective.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much a chance for the female characters to take centre stage in this book (hopefully this will be resolved if Hold Me Closer becomes, as I hope it will, a series). Brid (awful name which I kept reading as ‘Bird’) had attitude. McBride introduces us to a strong, capable, confident woman and I admit I admired her style. It’s just a shame that there seemed to be little point to her character, other than providing a link to the wolves in the story and being the token love-interest. (Though I did appreciate reading about a fairly typical, hormone-driven relationship, rather than the ‘destined’ soul-mates we often see). I loved all the scenes with Brid in, I just wish we could have seen her have more of an individual role.

Douglas.. was a strange character. I know I should have found him creepy and terrifying, but I didn’t. Clearly, he’s all kinds of crazy (and quite possibly a sadist) but he never seemed all that threatening. In fact, at times he seemed quite stupid. Supposedly he is the big bad in the supernatural world, and everyone fears him, (though we never really see why), and he is conducting some terrible research on supernatural creatures. But what, I’m not quite sure. One major problem with Hold Me Closer, is how everyone else on the supernatural council (of which Douglas is a part of and all of whom are powerful beings), are apparently unaware of his extracurricular activities. Or that he is, very obviously, up to no good. And no one does anything about it. It didn’t add up.

So some bits didn’t really make much sense, and there were several plot-holes (like how magical creatures can just pop in and out of Douglas’s home where he is keeping important people hostage without raising any kind of alarm). And it’s all a bit random. But… what can I say. I embrace the random. Sams relationships with his friends and his bizarre, amusing, one-liners with his overly-personal neighbour made my day bright. It’s truly the characters that make this.

Also, hello – necromancers!!! Very cool. Thank god someone’s capable of writing about something other than vampires and angels. Although I do wish we had focused more on Sam actually learning the art of necromancy. C’est la vie.

Definitely a book for those who tend to avoid the paranormal genre because they are tired of the dreaded Edward/Bella reincarnations. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is funny, grounded, has some great dialogue and is well-written with a delightfully snarky tone. It’s completely unrealistic – no one (apart from perhaps Sam, bless him) seems at all fazed by all the supernatural creatures suddenly appearing out of the woodwork. Everyone’s just like… huh. Okay. Want me to braid your hair? (To the dismembered head). The ending is a little too easily wrapped up, I’m not sure the female characters get the best deal (poor Brooke), and there’s far too many narratives going on near the end but none of that really bothered me. Because Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is just an incredibly entertaining book. I read it all in one sitting. Also, (apparently) there are lots of music references, but I’m always pretty oblivious to that kind of thing and so only know this because of other reviews *ahem*. There is a lot of potential here for a great series. Also, the title and the book cover are simply awesome. I liked it. A lot.

Plus, there’s a talking cat. Which all books should have if they possibly can.

I screamed and grabbed a butter knife off the counter. I’m not sure what I planned to do with it, but in the meantime I held it in front of me just in case Brooke suddenly grew her body back and attacked. I mean, if she could talk, what was stopping her from leaping up and gnawing piranha-style on my ankles? Once a severed head talks, lifes’ possibilities seem endless.

Frank ran and hid in, I think, the bathroom…

I closed my eyes. Had to be my imagination. There was no severed head on my floor. I opened my eyes. Brooke was still there, only now she looked disgusted with all of us. Frank ran in from the bathroom and started throwing assorted toiletries at her.’

~ page 50


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride

  1. This book has been on my To Read list for ages! I think I will bump it up closer to the top. I am with you on missing the music references, I am sure I will be in same boat. Great review.

  2. The music references aren’t as much in the story itself, I think, but the chapter titles are all based off songs (as far as I’m aware).

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