Get a waffle iron1 and settle down for an amusing YA read.
Sam, short for Samhain Corvus LaCroix, is your typical nineteen year old skateboarding college-dropout surly underpaid fast-food joint employee. He’s scrounged enough to rent a one-bedroom apartment at which two of his buddies (and co-workers) are currently also crashing because they can’t stand their families but can’t afford an apartment of their own on what fast-food joints pay. He and another co-worker, a young person of the female gender named Brooke, come to the attention of the wrong customer when they bust out the tail light of said customer’s Mercedes-Benz2 with a mis-aimed potato in the course of a game of field hockey in the alley behind the restaurant during their break.
Unfortunately, the car’s owner is a particularly touchy necromancer on Seattle’s Necromancer Council, and he doesn’t like getting his car messed around with by a punk kid necromancer…except the catch is that Sam doesn’t know he’s a necromancer. His mother and his uncle (father’s brother) both put restraints on Sam’s power when he was an infant and so he’s never known his own powers, save for a brief period of seeing spirits in his childhood, which his mother ended by giving him an amulet. Douglas shows his hand and his power by killing most of Brooke, and delivering her…well, not breathing exactly…but rather still-conversing head to Sam’s apartment to warn Sam he has a week before Douglas comes to Get Him.
Douglas, being a nasty necromancer, finks out on the week’s grace period he’s ostensibly granted Sam, and captures him to imprison him with a naked hot chick werewolf, next in line to be alpha of her pack. Oddly, no, they don’t do the obvious, but rather get to know one another and figure out how to work together in order to defeat Douglass. They do, with the assistance of Sam’s Harbinger, or spirit guide, and several of his friends from the non-supernatural world.
And don’t worry: Brooke’s head is reunited with the rest of her body.
It’s not brilliant literature, by any means. It is, however, better than a lot of the chicklit YA science fiction novels I’ve read; I suspect this says more about my reading tastes than the various books’ literary merits, but should alert librarians to the problems of recommending literature based on readers’ gender. There are a lot of things I can wholeheartedly recommend about the book: the chick who plays better field hockey than the dudes, the tough Hispanic not-quite-gang member who proves to be a dab hand at French braiding girls’s hair because he had to get his picky little sisters ready for school in the morning, and the spirit guide who…but I promised not to give the waffles reference away. It’s amusing. It’s fast moving. Best of all, despite being part of a series, this book will stand alone. So read it fast and don’t think too hard about the plot holes.
Who might like it? Possibly people who find Maggie Steifvater’s “Shiver” books aggravating in their romanticized werewolf descriptions; we can’t all be escapees from the Twilight universe. What to read next? The only think I can think of off the top of my head is Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Vampire’s Beautiful Daughter. They were written fifteen years apart, set in different cities and have different supernatural beings as the pivotal plot point, but they strike me as having a sense of place–I can envision the one in L.A. and the other in Seattle–and they both have a sense of humor.
1no, I’m not saying why, but trust me: you’ll be craving waffles by the end of this book too
2the “Chrysler” is silent