Series: Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer #1
Paperback: 292 Pages
Publication: August 2, 2011 by Entangled Publishing
Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.
But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…
The cover and pitch had me thinking that this would be a serious novel. It's true. Celia's looking for her murderer after all. The characters add spice to it-- a lot of spice. You get the impression that Ward is a bit of a klutz (a huge understatement). He shouldn't be a necromancer, being the sensitive, honorable, morally upright man that he is, but he has no other choice since he's prohibited from being a surgeon. As for Celia, you haven't met a true independent, fierce woman until you've met her, because she's dragging Ward all over the place and out to wreck justice on her murderers, which is ironic considering her (former) profession.
The questions of who murdered Celia and why pull the plot forward while the characters work their charm on the readers. Ward didn't go into the necromancer business as his first choice, and he certainly didn't look for women involved in dangerous business. Now he's met Celia, and he's painfully attracted to her. I love how the romance develops. Celia is a strong woman, and Ward is somewhat of a weak guy. Somehow the combination works. There is a definite chemistry. Ward is both drawn towards Celia and repulsed. I would be too if I were kissing a hot dead guy.
What I love most about Ward Against Death is the way Melanie Card weaves history and medical aspects into the novel. Not only do these components make the novel more interesting, they set it apart from all the other YA-crossover novels out there. Ward Against Death ends strongly with enough of the mystery leftover for me to want to anticipate answers in the next book along with more mystery, romance, adventure, and magic.
An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes