Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

With not that many exceptions, I’m not usually a fan of YA paranormal fiction. If you are, cool--to each his/her own. But something about that genre just makes me unable to stop rolling my eyes. I think part of it is that it takes its obviously impossible elements--werewolves, vampires, fairies, etc.--so seriously [*see the end of this post for some further soul searching on the subject]. Which is probably why I ended up liking “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer,” by Lish McBride, so much--it didn’t feel like it was taking itself quite as seriously. It reminded me of “Paranormalcy,” by Kiersten White, in that way. In both of the books, not only are the characters self-deprecatingly snarky and sarcastic, but it’s like the books themselves have those same qualities. It’s like they’re not quite so into themselves as some other paranormal YA books.

The summary:
Meet Sam, just your average guy rocking that fast-food career.

Enter Douglas, a powerful and violent necromancer. Douglas immediately recognizes Sam as a fellow necromancer--which is news to Sam--and he's none too happy to have a competitor in the crowded paranormal scene in Seattle.

Now Sam has an undead friend on his hands and a hot werewolf girl for company. With just one week to find a way out of Douglas's clutches, can Sam figure out how to use his mysteriously latent powers?
In case you couldn’t guess, “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer” took me by surprise. I was hoping to like it, since I’d heard such good things about it, but I wasn’t really expecting to, due to my abovementioned feelings about YA paranormal fiction. But I really did like it. It was sarcastic and unexpected and ridiculous--all in a good way. It also had a whole cast of awesome characters. Seriously, there weren’t any characters that I didn’t love in one way or another. Ramon, Frank, Brooke, Brid, Mrs. W, Ashley, Haley . . . I kinda just want to hang out with them all. And Sam, oh Sam. You’re funny and sarcastic and have this inability to shut up. I think I might be in love with you.

So, conclusion: Give this book a shot, even if paranormal isn’t usually be your thing. It just might surprise you like it did me.

*Further babble about YA paranormal fiction:
I just want to say two things before I get going on this subject: One, if you are a fan of YA paranormal fiction, more power to ya. I respect that everyone likes different genres--it’s just that YA paranormals aren’t usually my cup of tea. And two, I don’t mind me some paranormal elements in books. It’s just when they’re solidly in that genre that I start having problems.

Okay, here we go.

Part of my uncontrollable eye rolling when I read YA paranormal fiction comes from the fact that it seems to take its paranormal aspects too seriously. Sometimes I just want to shake the book and say “Don’t you realize this is so not even plausible?!?” But then, I don’t have nearly the same amount of frustration with fantasy novels, even though they have just as many implausible things going on. I think the difference to me is that fantasies usually take place in made-up worlds that I have no connection to and therefore have no problem with crazy things going on, because they are a natural part of that fictional world. But YA paranormal fiction often takes place in my world--a place where I know what is and isn’t real, and sorry, but werewolves, vampires, fairies, and fallen angels aren’t actually roaming the streets. And so the implausibility of it all trips me up.

Plus, YA paranormal fiction seems to have more than it’s fair share of love-at-first-sight/insta-attraction going on. And I REALLY can’t handle those kinds of relationships. This also goes back to the credibility issue: I just can’t help rolling my eyes at the whole “We made eye contact and I was a goner” kind of love (or worse, “We hate each other, then presto change-o, we’re soul mates”). And when you combine that kind of implausibility with the paranormal creatures, I just can’t do it.

And yeah, yeah, I know--it’s fiction and there’s suspension of disbelief and all that. But still. I can’t ever quite get over it all. Don’t hate me.

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