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Review: Silence

my thoughts in a few sentences: I had absolutely no preconceptions toward Silence by Michelle Sagara. I read the brief press release explaining the deal and thought, 'Hey, this is looks creepy fun and IT’S PARANORMAL romance with a beaut of a cover. How can I resist?' Now this may not have been a paranormal romance, but it was still full of paranormal goodness with downright pretty writing—it’s deep and insightful and simple of a kind, and characters, with their loyalty and distinct personalities, that are simply incredible. The relationship between these friends, best or otherwise, is beautiful in its honesty and the loyalty they feel toward the main character wonderful in its intensity.

hooking first lines: "Everything happens at night. The world changes, the shadows grow, there's secrecy and privacy in dark places. "

DAW/Penguin • Unsolicited • Paranormal • 5/1/12 • $13.49

Silence by Michelle Sagara

It began in the graveyard...

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had 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. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan's death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others—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...

Emma was not quite like other teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have to kill her.
I am slightly disappointed that there isn’t a romance to root for, but it’s not a total letdown… *sigh* This book is more than just who the main character is going to hook up with. Silence by Michelle Sagara is sad and confusing and fascinating. Emma Hall is far from recovered—she’s resigned. After having lost her father a few years ago, then very recently losing her boyfriend, Emma has changed. She may seem more self-confident than any teenager is capable of, but it’s because she no longer cares. She isn’t concerned with other people’s views about her, as it’s so far out of her worries that she’s straightforward with what she thinks and says since none of it matters anymore. It’s heartbreaking to witness that sort of resignation, because she isn’t crying and begging and longing for her boyfriend to return to her—she understands that that’s never going to be a possibility, she grasps that he’s gone and now it’s only a matter of how long she has to wait before everything is over for her as well. She’s not suicidal nor is she depressed or moody, she’s just fine. And that’s worst of all.

The characters—her friends—have all been effected by Emma’s loss as it’s their loss as well, but it’s all wrapped up in a kind of secret. No one talks about him or tries to reminisce, and that makes it hard in a way to connect and feel that loss as keenly as they do. Yet, at the same time, because they feel so deeply, it incites wonder that such a person, one so elusive to us, influenced so many lives. As we are introduced to this loss, and what that means for Emma, there is a mystery wrapped up in recent events in Emma’s life. After a chance meeting at the graveyard during the night, Emma—or more accurately, Petal, her Rottweiler—stumbles across Eric, the enigmatic new student at her school. This meeting unravels the bad so that it quickly twists her life into something dire. Head injuries, spacing out, vomiting after hardcore headaches hit, voices—all things that Emma can’t explain but is clever enough to understand that all of it leads back to Eric.

The plot has a tendency to roll into the confusing at times, and it has to do with the way it’s written and the lack of information. This story, even as answers start formulating, is shrouded in a mystery so thick that, by the end, it feels as if we lacked the ability to see through the thin block and be taught properly. It’s an introduction, though not necessarily irritating in that quality. But it certainly leaves room for so much more to happen, and it’s nearly impossible to guess where this story line is headed because it’s likely that we’ll be wrong. The necromancer mythology is a puzzle in itself and we attain pieces but it’s like trying to make a whole picture with just a handful. It’s as if we’re reading through a paragraph and once we’re finished, we sit back and ask ourselves if we understand when the answers are as elusive as they are obvious.

I may not know where this story is going, however I do know that the characters are, besides the paranormal aspect, the very best part of the story. It’s their deep bond, the connection, and the genuine caring between them. There are no Big Secrets to withhold, there’s support, and there’s a steadiness to their friendships, as if their bond will live as long as they do.

Sagara manages to steer away from a true cliffhanger, though she wraps up her story with a fist of anticipation rearing back and ready to strike as soon as the last word is read. Something surprising consumes our focus, although it’s not enough to be left shocked and angry. It’s a good surprise because it gives us a chance to really imagine what the sequel will be like and that’s what lights the excitement, the speculating. This series is definitely going to be quite a ride!

Rating: Sud-Kissed
Looking for books with a similar feel? Try checking out the following:

Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Sophie said...

Aaargh, what a disappointment that there's no romance! Personally, I'm one of those people who likes to read romance in every book I read. But I do enjoy some that don't have (from time to time).

I hadn't heard about Silence before (please picture me living under a rock), but all that paranormal-death aspect of the book sounds really good. And characters' bonds -- the best! I like books that run deeper than they seem. Maybe because they're more real?

Anyways, I don't think I'll be reading it right away, but in the future... who knows? :D

Asher_Knight said...

 I think there may be a romance forming slowly, because I see potential in a certain area, but I'm not sure yet. I'm going to have to keep reading the series to find out. Trust me, I NEED ROMANCE in my books, but for some reason I was satisfied with the idea of one in the future.

No, it's not just you. Silence hasn't made too many rounds around the blogosphere, that I can tell. It's a great book, and kept me well-entertained and my interest was captured. The characters were fabulous together, and that was my favorite part simply because I'm a BIG character girl. And I loooved the writing.

Take your time, but definitely give it a whirl. It's good stuff.

Heidi said...

Hehe, I'm someone who actually really craves a break from the romance sometimes.  I really appreciate books that don't have it.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, but sometimes I just want something else.  Besides, being as her boyfriend's just kicked it, I'm happy to hear there isn't something new right around the corner.  Makes their relationship seem more real to me.  

I've been excited to finally read your review (I'm days behind on my Reader, I know), as this is one I've been interested in.  I'm not sure I'm chomping at the bit to read it still, but I am interested.  This may be a 'wait till it's out' series for me. Great review, Asher!

Rebecca (Kindle Fever) said...

Ohh! I'm very new to this series, so I definitely haven't heard much about it before, but I really like the sound of it from your review! And I'm definitely glad you liked it so much. :D I'm intrigued, that's for sure! Awesome review:)

Asher_Knight said...

This book has got it GOING ON in some places. I like the writing, the character relationships, and even the paranormal element. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING? THAT is the question, and it's one that keeps you going. And I'm rather impatient which is why i can even MENTION the lack of romance despite what the heroine has gone through, but another part of me found that refreshing in a very good way. It does strike me as genuine and realistic.

IT'S OKAY. IT HAPPENS. I'm behind on commenting/reading posts myself. Interested is enough, and I think you'll appreciate it for what it is. Borrow that sucker if you have to! :D

Asher_Knight said...

Before it was sent to me: NEVER HEARD OF IT. Which is cool, because I like discovering new things for myself even as I like hearing about stuff from other peeps. I liked it a lot and I was DEFINITELY engrossed. :)

Sandra H said...

I was a little disappointed with the lack of romance but I don't think that detracted form the story.  In fact, I think it set up a romance for the second novel, which I can't wait for!  I sense a love triangle coming. Check out my review of Silence!

Asher Knight said...

So was I in a sense. Because I usually DO NEED romance, but this one managed to go along fine without one. And I like the promise of a romance maybe in the sequel!

Erica said...

I really enjoyed this one. I really am excited for the sequel, as I really enjoyed this one.

Asher Knight said...

Yeah. I didn't expect to like this one as much as I did!I had zero expectations for it, because, frankly, I'd never heard of it before it showed up on my doorstep! So glad to see you liked it, Erica :D