Book Review of Silence by Michelle Sagara

Posted December 28, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 11 Comments

Publisher: DAW

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Pages: 289
Genre: Young Adult-Paranormal
Source: I own a copy of this book.

Summary from Goodreads: It began in the graveyard…

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death….

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn’t known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma’s group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone’s guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma’s true destiny was….

Review: I fully did not expect to enjoy this book all that much, to be honest. I read a lot of reviews ahead of time (which I shouldn’t do but I have no willpower) and the reviews for this book amongst my friends were pretty mixed. Usually when reviews are mixed, I fall on the ‘dislike’ side. Not this time. I’ll admit that the first 120 pages were not wowing me because I found the pacing pretty slow, but even then I loved the writing so I stuck with it. I’m glad I did because this ended up being a book that I really enjoyed. Articulating why that is is going to be sort of difficult, however. So as in all my reviews, when my brain isn’t functioning correctly, I do a list. 
  • I thought the premise of the book was pretty original and that continued throughout the world-building, which by once I got to the end, almost left me breathless. I usually avoid paranormals for this reason because they tend to focus on the romance and less on the actual plot. Not here. I wouldn’t even say there was a romance in this one.
  • Which brings me to the next plus. I totally thought there was going to be a romance. And while there was a bit of flirting and a little sexual tension, ummm, that’s it. And oh HOW refreshing that was. Dynamic characters, a potential future romance, but we didn’t need to rush into anything. It’s almost like this author has been listening to reader complaints. Thank you!
  • The characters were pretty awesome, actually. Emma was a wonderful protagonist who felt real, was flawed but not annoying, and a protagonist I liked. (This is rare these days, I’m telling you.) Plus, there’s a dog named Petal. A rottweiler who is like, awesome. He is totally my dog in so many ways. 
  • I can almost guarantee that you will like the potential (but not yet) love interests. They are actually likable guys with personalities and depth. This could have potentially been ugly because they are both sent to kill Emma, but it totally doesn’t play out in that cliché, tragic way. No, you won’t be mad at these guys. It’s not like Twilight and Edward always wanting to eat Bella in every scene they are in. 
  • I loved the writing. The author has this vivid way of writing her prose that really made me picture every scene. I also really enjoyed the cadence and flow of the words. I found myself reading more slowly just so I could savor the text. This is always a good thing because I so rarely do it. 

That said, I have a few small complaints. I do think the setting could have been stronger. The lore and setup were wonderful, but I wasn’t even sure where this book was taking place until some character ( I don’t remember who) mentioned Toronto. Oh, Canada? Okay then. (Note: I just saw that Toronto was mentioned in the blurb. I forget details in blurbs a lot but I am laughing at myself anyway.) Haha. For a book that featured necromancers and graveyards a lot, it was suspiciously missing the creep factor. I just think if a little more time had been devoted to building the setting and imagery, the book would have had more of a punch.

Also, the pacing. The author really needs to watch that. Because I could have easily set the book down and walked away in the first hundred and twenty pages before it really got going. The book is not really that long and I am lucky I was patient with this one–I am not usually–because it was worth it. But how many people are going to stick it out through all the slow build up and ‘he said, she said’ crap?  But you will because I told you to, right? Right? 😉
I can’t wait for the next book because this one was just so, so much fun to read. The ending was one of the most satisfying I have read in awhile. It wrapped up perfectly, left a tear in my eye, and opened perfectly for the next book without it being the type of cliffhanger that will piss you off. Hopefully the pacing in the next one will be fixed now that all the exposition is out of the way. Crossing my fingers for that one. 
4/5 Dragons

11 responses to “Book Review of Silence by Michelle Sagara

  1. Amy

    I wanted to get this book because of how gorgeous the cover is lol!! Then I read the synopsis and wanted it even more. Not sure why I didn’t get it, but it really does sound like a book I would like. Great review! I might have to give this one a chance at some point.

  2. Ooh I like the cover. Can I also say that I love your list idea! That is such a great idea for when you can’t really throw your thoughts together cohesively. I may have to steal that in the future when I am in such a position. Love that there wasn’t a romance thrown in your face that felt forced and awkward. That seems to be happening in ALL the books now. Great review!

  3. I actually picked this up earlier this year and never actually read it. I think it was the mixed reviews that put me off, but this sounds amazing! I’ll definitely have to return to it sometime soon. Wonderful review, Kara! 🙂

    • I think maybe people are just tired of paranormal YA. So am I, but to me, this one is not like most of them. If you try it again, I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts!

  4. This sounds really good, Kara! I’ve never heard of it before but the cover caught my eye right away (especially the dog!) and the fact that there’s no focus on romance and a likeable character means I will add this to my to-rea list!

  5. Ooo, I’m glad to hear you liked this! At first the ratings were so good, but then I started to see pooh-poohers, so I admit my interest waned a bit. But you make this sound awesome, so I’m back to being excited again. Thanks for the review!

    • Yeah, the reviews are mixed. I usually fall on the negative side, but for this one I didn’t. I feel like some of the reviews were a little unfair. Maybe because everyone was burned out on paranormal YA.

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