Author: Michelle Sagara
Series: The Queen of the Dead #1
Cover Art: Cliff Nielsen
Genre: Paranormal YA
Reviewed by: Abigail
It began in the graveyard. Ever since her boyfriend Nathan 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. 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….
Beautiful covers and intriguing descriptions are really all we as readers have to go on with new books. In the case of SILENCE, it had both looks and a solid premise to hook readers, unfortunately, I found both to be misleading.
The initial character development is very good, especially for Emma’s friend Michael who is described as “a high functioning autistic.” I really took to his character and the subtle ways his autism was incorporated into the story. It felt very real and extremely believable. I also liked how Emma’s friendship with Michael revealed a fierce protective side of her personality that helped to explain some of the decisions she made later on in SILENCE.
As the start of the new Queen of the Dead series, there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be established. The character work is for the most part done well, but the mythology and worldbuilding is frustratingly scant. There are ghosts and there are necromancers. That is about all we are told. Not why or how or what it means to be one or the other. There are necromancer hunters too for some reason, but we are told almost nothing about them. When Emma meets them and is told they might have to kill her, she just accepts this and asks zero questions. That’s pretty much the pattern for all the supernatural things that happen in this book. People see them or learn about something and don’t question anything. I can’t remember a time I read a book where all the characters without exception were so content with their own ignorance. It was unbelievably frustrating.
Beyond that, there was something about the writing style that I didn’t connect to. It was a little choppy and tended toward long winded conversations. But really is was the confusions and lack of explanation in regards to the worldbuilding that really kept me from engaging with SILENCE. I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel.