Sep 11 2012 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBrideNecromancing the Stone by Lish McBride is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, a young adult paranormal mystery featuring Sam the Necromancer (available September 18, 2012).

With the title of this book alone, I had a feeling that the voice of the author would be hilarious. After all, it takes talent to make necromancing funny. In Lish McBride’s sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, we are reintroduced to Samhain “Sam” LaCroix. He has recently killed his necromancing mentor, Douglas, and inherited all the power, wealth, and responsibility that goes with taking Douglas’s place in the supernatural food chain. On top of all that, Sam is dealing with the trials of being a young adult, a female werewolf’s boyfriend, and having one ghostly friend and another were-bear (say that five times fast) best friend.

Part of what makes this book work is the balance McBride strikes between horror, humor, and young adult themes. The ideal combination in any good paranormal universe is having the elements of fantasy while keeping the issues grounded in essential human emotions. Being a fry cook-cum-college dropout is hard, and everyone wishes that someone could wave a magic wand to get them instant wealth and the girl. For Sam, that gift came at a price and he’s still very uneasy with the transition his life is going through.

“If you remember, you insisted on bringing your own stuff, including that moth-eaten thing you call a mattress. You wouldn’t even put your music in the library, or your books. Ridiculous.”

I hadn’t wanted to mix my stuff with Douglas’s. I know it sounds weird, but I felt like, once that happened, this new house situation was permanent, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.

I had not read the first book in the series before diving into this one. The first few chapters of the book (don’t worry, they’re short) were mainly recapping and reintroducing the main characters and some of the plot from the first book. This might be tedious for those who read the first in the series but helpful for those like me who had not. Fear not though, the action quickly resumes when someone close to Sam dies. Unfortunately, Sam is still getting used to his new necromancing powers—you’d think with those skills, finding someone’s murderer would be simple! Unfortunately for Sam, but luckily for the reader, the mystery of who the killer is remains an enigma even with Sam’s special skills.

This book’s humor made it a standout for me in the genre. It’s full of one-liners fit for a Will Ferrell comedy but still believable for a teenage character.

. . . While Douglas was holding me hostage, I’d met a girl—I mean, screw dating websites and house parties; apparently all the really eligible ladies are being held in cages these days.

. . . Douglas had a framed first edition of Bowie’s Hunky Dory on display there.
I guess even pure evil likes David Bowie.

. . . I mumbled something—it might have been “hello,” or it might have been “piss off.” It’s hard to be sure of these things sometimes.
“Be nice,” she said. Which meant I’d probably told her to piss off.

There are very few funny horror novels out there now (please help me compile a list because I really couldn’t think of any!). Of course there are films like Dead Alive, Shaun of the Dead, and Fido, but few authors, it seems, are willing to step into the void. Imagine David Sedaris taking on zombies, or a young adult version of Jonathan L. Howard’s Johannes Cabal the Necromancer and you’ll find the love child that is Necromancing the Stone.

Other reviewers have said the first book is more gruesome and high adventure than Necromancing, so if that is more your shtick, I would definitely attempt that one before heading into Sam’s second adventure. I’m not that big into gore, so Necromancing worked for me. McBride manages to be descriptive in this second installment without being gratuitous, and for that I thank her.

As the perfect foil for Sam, I anticipated the sections when we slipped into the villain’s mind almost as much as being in Sam's. Her villain ***spoilers (highlight to read)*** is Douglas, which is slightly predictable. Turns out he’s not so dead and comes back as a zombie-like creature. We are introduced to him in this second book as he is making a revenge to-do list—I can appreciate a villain who makes a to-do list. He’s quickly a man of action and starts in on said list.

My one critique would be that because we are so often in the mind of the villain as he plots, some of the mystery and suspense is lost. It doesn’t stop it from being an all-around fun book though. With a splash of horror and a huge helping of humor, Necromancing the Stone is definitely going on the keeper pile. I’m looking forward to starting the first book in the series and really diving into the gruesome laughs of Sam the Necromancer.

Have you read any good funny horror recently?


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To enter for a chance to win one of three sets including copies of Lish McBride’s Necromancing the Stone and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2012/09/fresh-meat-necromancing-the-stone-by-lish-mcbride-jennifer-proffitt-young-adult-paranormal  beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 11, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on September 18, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at https://www.criminalelement.com/page/official-rules-the-necromancer-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

See more coverage of new releases in our Fresh Meat series.

Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance and watching crime shows, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt.

Read all Jennifer Proffitt’s posts on Criminal Element.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Angela Perry
2. Lelelia
Sounds awesome! will add it to my TBR list!
Anne Muller
5. anne38
Lish and this series is new to me. I'll be looking it up.
alicia marie
7. bamayankee
I so need to read this series! It sounds good : )
Diana Thomas
10. gwenivere73
These sound good, I'm going to have to add to my TBR file.
Kayla Beck
11. kaylabeck
This sounds like such a great series, and the reviews that I've read are very positive. Thanks for the opportunity to win!
Kathy Fannon
12. Kathy F
These do sound like fun reads. I'll have to check them out.
Doreen Sheridan
13. dvaleris
The titles alone make these books sound worthwhile.
Allison Moyer
14. The Loopy Librarian
I can't remember the last time I read a funny horror story. These sound inticing.
Nancy Pate
17. patebooks
The first one was as hilarious as the title. Looking forward to reading the second.
For funny horror, Christopher Moore!
Mary Ann Woods
20. puttputt1198eve
This book sounds like it's right up my alley! Thanks for the chance to win it!
Mickie Turett
21. MDT
It was the title of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer that drew me to the first book. Silliness and necromancy - it's a perfect combination, like green eggs and ham. Can't wait to read Necromancing the Stone !
22. Babsji
Humor and Horror, sounds right up my alley!
Debbie K. Chioffe
25. sugarpaws
Winning these would be excellent! Thanks for the opportunity!
Larisa LaBrant
26. MsGodiva1
These sound like the perfect gift (bait) for a nephew in middle school that hates to read...Thank you for hosting a giveaway!
Jerrilynn Atherton
28. jerrilynn
Thanks for the chance to win! Can't wait to read it!!
31. Andrea Ramjattan
Great give away!
Cheryl U.
33. matkeltri
I think I'd really enjoy reading these books. I like everything with a bit of humor.
36. mobilewasher
I would love these books, they are right in my regular reading catagory on any day and would probably buy them if I don't win them!
Jody Darden
41. jldarden
My daughter mentioned these books to me. We both would like to read them!
43. Faith
She also has a short story out for e-readers. I haven't read Hold me Closer yet but the short story was great.

Try Anna Dressed in Blood for another YA horror.
mariah chappel
44. mariahchappel
Does sound good. Always looking for a new aouthor :-)
45. Shannon Baas
I would like this.
Jennifer Proffitt
46. JenniferProffitt
@Faith, oh really? I had no idea! I'll have to add it to my list. And I've been eyeing Anna Dressed in Blood for a while, I'll definitely have to give it a more serious look. (also, don't forget to log in Faith, don't want to miss out on a chance to win!)

@MsGodiva1 These are total nephew bait! I'd also recommend any of our posts by F.T. Bradley as a good place to look for other ideas.
Lisa Potts
58. kelsey091200
I must admit, these have been on my "to read" list for quite some time. Would love the chance to win them. Thanks!
59. James Murray
I would love to win
Crystal Faulkner
61. mommyto2
these sound great! thanks for the giveaway!
John Clark
66. sennebec
I have a bunch of YA library patrons who would love to read this book.
67. Samantha Meyer
This sounds like a super exciting series!
kathy pease
72. klp1965
Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
73. Daniel M
sounds like a fun one!
74. Tricha
Would love these
Buddy Garrett
My daughter would enjoy reading this book. Thanks.
Cassandra Marquez
79. cassandraashley
this book looks awesome really hope i get a chance to read it!
82. Traci Dolcemascolo
Thanks for the chance to win.
Heather Cowley
85. choochoo
Funny title. I remember watching a movie of a similar name. Book sounds good to me!
Regina Marlborough
86. marjeannie
Adding to my to read list. Great mix. Humor, Horror, macabre.
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