*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
I can summarize in one simple sentence what made this book stand out for me:
The characters and their situations were so realistic, relatable, and normal.
And when I say normal, I mean it in a great way. I think Tyler was the closest I’ve ever found to a character who was actually an average, everyday, just-like-you-and-me person and who acted the way an average person would to the supernatural stuff that was thrust upon him. The way he and his friends got involved actually felt believable.
But everything was realistic period, not just the way Tyler reacted to the supernatural. I feel like everyone could find something to relate to in this book. From the anger and confusing residual feelings Tyler still had for his ex, to the feelings of betrayal when he found out one of his best friend had been lying to him, to the pain and anger he felt toward his not-there father, to the worry that his other-ex-turned-friend’s new boyfriend was harboring a grudge against him, to the way he eventually got overwhelmed by everything and sank into a haze and hole of despair, to the relationship problems between him and his current girlfriend—I keep using the word realistic, but that’s truly what it was.
The characters were also three-dimensional, and even the side/background characters seemed like they had their own lives going on. There was a lot of diversity too—different genders, sexual orientations, races, and even mental and physical health problems (Tyler had panic attacks and needed sleeping pills, one of his friends used a wheelchair, and his friend’s brother had some sort of mental health disorder, though I have a feeling that last one might turn out to be supernatural-related).
I also thought all the stuff about the necromantic magic and wild magic was intriguing and worked really well. Magic in books has a tendency to get out of control and just change depending on what the author feels like, but this actually made sense.
The only problem I had was that the book lacked urgency. There was a clear goal, stakes, etc., and the plot was intricate and flowed well, but I guess it felt kind of slow moving. So it was a great story, just not quite un-put-down-able for me.
Overall though, I loved how relatable and three-dimensional the characters were and how fascinating the magic was, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Tyler and his friends!
Urban fantasy readers who like necromancy and a well explained magic system, slow to moderate pace, and realistic, relatable, you-and-me type characters.
Pre-med student Tyler Dufresne is way too inexperienced to deal with this magical crap. The spectre he finds after exploring a strange mausoleum linked to the inexplicable suicides of two of his relatives scares the hell out of him. Then, within days, he’s lied to by a priest, attacked by a knife-wielding madman, and accosted by a psychic who hates him just because she met him. Seriously.
Ty needs to focus on his own life, and not becoming a redshirt in someone else’s story. Besides, countless Dungeons & Dragons games have taught him that newbie adventurers get stabbed more often than not. Problem is, he may be a novice, but he is a real-life necromancer, making it hard to ignore the storm of the Afterworld’s spirits growing in the sky. The trauma of the accident which incited his magical powers has held him back for years, but now he need to learn about his abilities. Fast.
Worse, the rest of Toronto’s supernatural underside is apathetic to the threat. Ty knows he’s no big damn hero, but willful blindness is something Ty just can’t stomach. The only clues are a haunted misericorde and three survivors of the cult it once belonged to. The misericorde’s also the most recent murder weapon, and – of course – it’s missing.
Meanwhile, the spectre grows stronger with every ‘suicide’ it causes. With All Souls’ Day fast approaching, there isn’t much time left before the cult survivors gain absolute power over a force of Death unequaled this side of the Veil.
And, as if threatening the friends, family, and city he loves wasn’t enough, they also want Ty as its host. Yeah, over his dead body – but that’s kind of the point.