Title: Ward Against Death
Author: Melanie Card
Series: (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer #1)
Date Published: August 2nd, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.
But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Ward Against Death was a surprisingly difficult book to get through. I went in thinking it would be some epic adventure full of action and magic and chaos. I thought it would be a quick read, because I would get sucked into this magical world where a dead girl is brought back to life and be so engaged I wouldn’t want to put it down. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
The beginning of the book starts off with Ward waking Celia for fifteen minutes, as requested by her father. However, all goes wrong when, instead of acting confused or docile, she refuses to believe she’s dead and climbs out the window. He follows her through sewers and troublesome situations, and risks his life and career just because she fluttered her lashes and shed a few tears. Oh, and lets not forget how beautiful she and her butt are, never mind that he literally just woke her before he decided she was gorgeous and helpless.
“Goddess, how could he say no?
She was just so beautiful and so desperate, he had to do something.” (2%)
“Ward gazed up the access pipe at the outline of Celia’s shapely bottom. She was just so beautiful…” (5%)
The worst part? He knows she’s using him.
“She was using him. He knew it the moment she’d disappeared into the sewer…” (5%)
While Celia is the gorgeous assassin who can hold her own and was raised from the dead, Ward is the awkward necromancer who is clumsy, innocent, and air headed when near Celia (which is the whole entirety of the book, really.). He’s tall, all long and awkward limbs, and he aspired to be a surgen, which is illegal. He’s well aware of that too, having been apprehended once for practicing his surgical skills on the deceased. So instead he was forced into necromancy because of his family. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll expect that he would have some really cool, haunting, and chilling meetings with the dead. Yeah, he doesn’t. Celia is the only dead person he interacts with, other than those who die during their journey to find out who killed Celia, and he’s infatuated with her. Not that she cares about him at all.
“Why did she have to be so alluring? And so…dead?” (20%)
“He was the perfect image of a scarecrow, all arms and legs and not a thought in his head.” (4%)
Celia is constantly on the offense, and her thoughts are hardly ever complimenting. She’s strong, intelligent, and I almost feel bad for her because she had no choice in her lifestyle; she was born into that life. Keyword: Almost. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. It’s not that they were badly written (they actually grew on me since they developed really well halfway through), it’s just that they felt distant and too common. A gorgeous badass girl and the awkward okay-looking dude. Who hasn’t read about them?
Don’t forget their love story. I’m actually so thankful the romance wasn’t predominant or too important. There was instant attraction on Ward’s side, but otherwise, their feelings were gradual. And other than one kissing scene, they were too busy dealing with who killed Celia to explore a relationship. It helped the story move at a fairly good pace.
“He looked like a sculpture. A tired, handsome sculpture.” (24%)
The world-building could use some work, too. We know there’s a prince, there’s assassins and a master and keepers, and we know there’s necromancers and a banned dark necromancer. What I would like is more about the hierarchy and how it works. Why is there a master? How are they trained? How does this dark necromancer hide from the law when being in the open so often with not-so-good people? What about the Ancients? Why are they so important? Where are they and what are the structures and towns they explore?
Twists. I saw some coming, and others I never would’ve thought of. I enjoyed the second half of the book immensely because of that. The second half of the book just mended together and flowed well. It made me glad that I didn’t DNF, as I had been fighting not to for a while. The first half just fell a little flat for me.
Overall, I liked the second half, but even so, I wouldn’t say this book is for me.