- Series: Queen of the Dead (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: DAW (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780756408008
- ISBN-13: 978-0756408008
- ASIN: 0756408008
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,108,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Touch: Queen of the Dead, Book Two Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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Praise for Michelle Sagara's Queen of the Dead series:
"It's rare to find a book as smart and sweet as this one." —Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon's Lexicon
"The strength of Silence lies not only in the way Sagara seamlessly integrates the paranormal into the lives of her characters, but in how very real those lives are. Sagara captures the way teenagers feel everything more intensely—love, hate, fear, wonder—and uses that to capture the hearts of her readers." —Tanya Huff, author of The Silvered
“In Touch, Sagara paints an eerie and original picture of the afterlife as she continues the struggle of Emma and friends to free the dead from eternal imprisonment, while battling the necromancers of the Queen of the Dead. Beautifully written, with characters so real – even the dead ones – they could be any of us, Touch is an exceptional addition to a powerful series. Don’t miss this.” —Julie E. Czerneda, author of A Turn of Light
"I've been a fan of Michelle Sagara West's writing for years, so I was thrilled when I heard she was writing YA. An evocative and thoroughly compelling story." —Janni Lee Simner, author of Bones of Faerie
"Brilliant storyteller Sagara heads in a new direction with her Queen of the Dead series. She does an excellent job of breathing life into not only her reluctant heroine, but also the supporting players in this dramatic and spellbinding series starter. There is a haunting beauty to this story of love, loss and a teenager’s determination to do the right thing. Do not miss out!" —RT Book Reviews (top pick!)
"An interesting and original premise.... Promising." —Kirkus
"A spooky and emotionally moving urban fantasy.... Silence distinguishes itself in a glutted field of YA paranormal fiction. Sagara starts with some of the popular plot tropes, but doesn’t take them in the directions you might expect, and the lovable characters and authentic emotion help set the book apart too. It’s a story of loss, grief, and the way life goes on after tragedy, sad at times, but hopeful rather than depressing." —Fantasy Literature Review
About the Author
Michelle Sagara has published numerous short stories and fantasy novels, including the successful Cast (The Chronicles of Elantra) novels and her Queen of the Dead series. She lives in Toronto with her husband and her two sons. She started working in bookstores at the age of sixteen, and never stopped, although she also held full-time summer jobs at IBM. She reads, reviews the occasional book for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and works at a bookstore, part-time. She can contacted via her website, michellesagara.com.
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From the first book, we readers learned that assassins travel the world trying to kill budding necromancers before they come into power because of the assumption that they will be evil. Emma, our heroine, is a budding necromancer who refuses to command or control the dead, but builds relationships with them instead.
In the opening of this second book, Emma is dealing with all kinds of pressures, like talking with her dead dad over homework and navigating high school. Added to that, her friend Allison is dealing with her own lack of talents in just about everything but school and being a good friend. Stir in a guy who has lived with resentment most of his life for never having anyone love him. Add normal things, like parents, and less-normal things like dead people arguing with live people.
This is the second book, and gets rather assumptive of backstory here. Most of Emma's necromantic powers are already established for the reader. Emma can see/talk to the dead, and she can make them visible/audible to others if she touches them. She can use her physical hands in metaphysical ways. But she continues to refuse to use or abuse anyone around her to strengthen herself or exercise power for personal gain.
Emma's powers of friendship are quite strong, mostly because of loyalty and acceptance of people as they are rather than as she wishes them to be. That requirement of understanding is the foundation of her friendships with everyone from Michael (high functioning autistic) to Allison (plain bookish introvert) to Amy (queen bee and social force of nature). Emma, Eric, Chase, and a host of other characters move through the story. The alliances and understandings among the group are fluid, and come under storytelling pressure both from Emma's decisions and from those of her friends. All of the various relationships are in play in this series, and are highlighted even more as this second book breaks into separate points of view, rather than focusing exclusively on Emma.
As I said, the theme of this book is "what makes a person a monster" and here was a huge psychological confrontation for me, as a reader, to step into a book and face a reality of life. I won't spoil it publicly here. Suffice to say, Sagara, and therefore Emma, pushed the plot and that question through some very painful contemplations and confrontations to a point beyond judgment of another person.
This was where the strength of Emma's character was proven to be so solid, and not maleable for the sake of plot continuation. Emma was willing to step beyond her mental judgments of people to see the actors in this tragedy as they are, not as she wanted to believe. And while the resolution was ok-enough for the moment, Sagara did not waive any epiphany wands over any characters' heads to change who and what they are for the sake of readers' solid sleep later.
I picked this book up because the first one was really quite good. I recommend it with caution to people who would like to continue along in the story.