4 out of 5 stars
I'm just going to say it. I love Sam LaCroix from Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Not crush-love but friend love and that's rare. But he's a cool guy that I want to hang out with. He's a bit of a slacker (which becomes understandable eventually), but sometimes slackers make great friends. He's a vegetarian, with a hippy mom, totally protective of his friend Brooke in a not-creepy way, polite to old women and a bit of a smart-ass. Basically he's perfect to spend 300 pages bonding with.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is different from a lot of the teen urban fantasy/paranormals out there. It's completely non-mopey for starters! Despite death, spirits and necromancy the book reads as pretty up-beat. It has a dark sense of humor that I love. There's minimal romance (and what there is leaves me wanting more). Instead the story focuses on Sam and his friends--Ramon, Brooke and Frank. That's refreshing. Sometimes I feel like books focus on romance and forget about friendship. In my experience friendship has more impact on teenage life than anything else.
One of my favorite things about this book is the age bracket it tackles. Most YA focus on 14-17 year olds. Most adult books seem to be 30s+. Sam and his friends are in the 19-25 age demographic. There is a lack of books with college aged protagonists despite the fact it's one of the most interesting phases of life. College is where you really find yourself (or at summer camp during college). For most people, 19-25 is when you get your first job, fall in love, move out of your house and start figuring your life out. Sam is a college drop-out working fast food. He's a good kid, but a little lost and completely clueless about where his life is going. Doesn't that describe almost every 19-year-old boy you've met?
The book has some flaws but they don't really interfere with the story. The main thing that bothered me was the fact that paranormal abilities seems very common but the world remained the same as the world we live in. There were werewolves, witches, necromancers and fey who answered to a Council but all of this seemed below the surface of an otherwise normal world. The book never explained how they kept the world so separate. It just seemed a little off to me.
Hold me Closer, Necromancer is a fun fast one-day read. Sam is realistic, engaging and a sweetheart. The plot is fast-moving and easy to follow (despite switching from 3rd to 1st person POV too many times to count). Just checked the author's website and there is a sequel planned. So YAY! Don't let that deter you. This is a stand-alone book that left me wanting more.
Sometimes you read a book and you think "I wish more people would write books like this." I've said it with Hex Hall and I'll say it with Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. The urban fantasy/paranormal genre can be FUN! No need for all the mopey heroines or tear laden pages. Give me a Sophie Mercer or Sam LaCroix any day! I want main characters that I can laugh with. Characters I can be friend with! By most standards Sam may be a bit of a failure. But he's a good friend, a good son and a good brother. For me, that's all the success he needs.