Hello, my dear bookworms! Here I’m, sipping lavender tea (tbh I was scare because it looks like lil yellow water but it lavander flavored) and giving you this still kinda horror themed review.
This book was provided by Netgalley and the publisher and is one of those review I’m a little behind but I’m catching up with this one at least.
It has been a long time since I posted a review, so it’s time to give you another of my magnificent masterpiece of critique.
I’m joking, I’m not that good. Neither totally modest.
Title: Twice Dead
Author: Caitlin Seal
Series: The Necromancer’s Song #1
Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Naya, the daughter of a sea merchant captain, nervously undertakes her first solo trading mission in the necromancer-friendly country bordering her homeland of Talmir. Unfortunately, she never even makes it to the meeting. She’s struck down in the streets of Ceramor. Murdered.
But death is not the end for Naya. She awakens to realize she’s become an abomination–a wraith, a ghostly creature bound by runes to the bones of her former corpse. She’s been resurrected in order to become a spy for her country. Reluctantly, she assumes the face and persona of a servant girl named Blue.
She never intended to become embroiled in political plots, kidnapping, and murder. Or to fall in love with the young man and former necromancer she is destined to betray.
I requested Twice Dead ready for a surprise. I was positive, because I noticed that sometimes authors from minor publishers gave me amazing books to read. And so I did.
I cannot say that I’m disappointed but a was expecting a bit more. Now, the novel start without giving you time. If I must name the first chapters, the perfect description would be: that escalated more than quickly. In fact, just few pages from the start and Naya, our main protagonist, gets killed.
That was a surprise since sometimes I used to blurbs that, despite describing what is going to happen in the first part of the novel, the book takes even thirty pages to reach the conclusion of the blurb main point.
What was a little less interesting is how the novel went on. It was a bit slow, I guess. To be honest, I’m one of those readers that doesn’t mind at all when the book takes is time to develop the plot, even if it means that the actual juicy stuff is going to happen in the second novel. Anyway, I kinda felt that this was a debut. But also a really generic young adult book for a good chunk of the plot.
Now, far from to say that is a bad thing. First published book aren’t easy, and is not like every author have to create the best masterpiece that throw away all the cliché. A perfectly normal book is still very good. Yet, the factor that something has been already written and read many times, may not play well for the final opinion. But is not the only things that didn’t allow me to give this novel an higher rating.
I want to start with what I liked. Despite being minor, I need to inform of the presence of a canon f/f couple, and yes, the couple remain alive. I’m super curious to see how it will be for them in the future. And despite this being a fantasy book, so it means that discrimination may not exist like in our world, it’s reported to exist but the whole story of this couple is definitely not based on it, which is great.
Second thing I liked is the necromancy. I’m almost up to every form of necromancy and the idea that a soul can be sing back to life, with runes carved into bones, but that there also different types of undead, is something I loved. I wished to know a little more and maybe some macabre details?
For the rest I’ve mixed feelings. I’m not exactly the greatest with romance intuitions, and the book also fell for the cliché “the first boy she meet is the love interest”. Is not a thing that deeply disturb me but I’m starting to notice this pattern more and more. And in general I didn’t feel the reasons of this romance, but at a certain point they were in love.
Anyway, since I’m kinda used to it and it’s some kind of young adult book curse, other things have more weight on my final opinion. One of this is the world building. I think I wasn’t super attentive because I felt lost sometimes with all the nations, but also there wasn’t something really incisive and predominant that helped to associate the names with something else, aside from the main two nations. During the whole book, there are little details of world building there and there, like the way people dresses in a nation or in another. I grew really curious when in Ceramor it was mentioned the presence of a public service that deeply resemble a tram station.
Another point that I felt like needed more attention was the religious element. Naya expressed a lot of her people views about the necromancy, moving against it and passing a brief moment of refusal towards her resurrection. It’s also true that less religous people exist, despite being born and surrender by heavy faith and costumes, but I thought it was an interesting part and I would have loved to know more.
Now, where Corten really didn’t interested me that much, I kinda liked Naya. I mean, she’s a normal girl who hopes everything in her life goes well, with a lot to learn, but her existence get turned upside down. She’s forced to undergo something, even if she felt participant of it. She have no other choice and also to face the moral dilemma of her new being. To be honest, I found her plotline realistic: a young girl, killed and force to be bound to new people and new life, unable to contact her loved ones, that decide to join a cause, follow it and find herself into something bigger.
Also, when things turn dark, do what she can to resolve the situation. She asked for help but I cannot say that she sat in a corner waiting for things to change or get better. Sometimes she does mistakes and that’s normal too.
By the end of the book I had a moment of “HELL WOOOO GIRL!” because… I cannot say that, okay? It’s just that I wasn’t expecting such a radical action from Naya and I cannot even say that I’m sorry because… just woooo.
So, Twice Dead is not exactly the most innovative book ever, but is not something I would stay away. I’m gonna look up for the next release and see how the author is gonna work on the sequel and on Naya’s development. If the series will get a turn dark of events, which also happened in the end of the first novel, it will get really really really interesting.