Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Amy and the Necromancers by Jimena I. Novaro is a unique book with an unusual take on necromancy, and I loved it from start to finish. Read my full book review below.
A dead girl who won’t talk. A living girl with death in her bloodline.
Amy’s family isn’t like other people. Amy’s mother has an almost magical ability to ease the pain of the dying. Every full moon, her aunt sits in a graveyard and talks to ghosts. Her sister Sarah can predict how someone will die.
And Amy—well, she can raise the dead.
Until now, Amy has only ever brought back pets and wild animals. But on the night before starting junior year in high school, she brings back something new: a little girl. As Amy searches for the child’s identity, she begins to suspect the girl’s death wasn’t an accident. Where is her family? Why won’t she speak? Why is she so frightened to leave Amy’s side?
But while the mystery grows more complex, Amy’s life brings more turmoil. Her crush, the beautiful and mysterious Toni Davis, has secrets of her own. Amy’s powers—and her chronic depression—become tougher to hide from her friends. And worst of all, she finds it harder than ever to connect with her family, the only people who could understand the strange position she occupies in the balance between life and death.
Link: Amy of the Necromancers
Author: Jimena I. Novaro
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is a unique book with an unusual take on necromancy, and I loved it from start to finish. It's a little slow and introspective, with a lot of depth from Amy's emotions and struggles with her mental health. But this multi-layered mystery isn't boring. It takes time to unravel everything that's happening with Amy's powers, how she fits into her powerful family, the questions surrounding the dead girl, and the secrets that her crush Toni is keeping.
All the women in Amy's family have a magical power related to death, and there is time spent on learning about her relatives' powers, too. I love the lyrical, tactile way that magic is described in this book. It really makes the magic come to life.
But while there is beauty in the magic, there is also a lot of pain. It's not easy to be constantly surrounded by death and dying. We see how this affects Amy most of all, but other people, too. This was a heavy read that stuck with me long after I finished the last page.
I also appreciated the way that the romance was slow to develop and wasn't the main focus of the story. It could have been distracting from the mystery that Amy is trying to solve about the dead girl, but instead, it's a secondary plot.
There are several twists before the ending is finally revealed, and I didn't see it coming. It's a little short but it leaves things open for the characters in future stories. I hope the author plans to continue more stories about Amy or maybe her family members.
This isn't a lighthearted read, but one that touched me with its gentle exploration of death and life. I think that re-reading it might reveal new insights. I recommend this book to anyone who likes magical realism with a group of women. It's hard to compare it to anything else, but it was a little like The Secret Life of Bees meets The Raven Cycle.
Content warnings: depression, suicide, homophobic slurs, domestic violence, death.
This article was written by Kristen S. Walker.
Kristen S. Walker is a YA fantasy author and blogger, also known as a book hoarder. Check out more of her work by clicking on any of the covers below.