WARD AGAINST DEATH
Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer
by Melanie Card
pub date 8/2/2011
product description from goodreads.com
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…
WARD AGAINST DEATH was quite a surprise read to me. I had seen the cover and read the description on the Entangled Publishing website a few months back and thought "Eh, doesn't sound like a book for me." (I typically don't read "historicals"). But then a friend on Twitter told me I should read it (she was insistent, actually, lol), so I picked up a copy. And I'm so glad I did!
WARD tells the story of a fourth-generation necromancer named Edward de'Ath (he goes by Ward. And incidentally, how cool is that last name?) who has the ability to wake the dead. He makes his living at wakes, giving families a final visit with the departed. He also does something else, but since it's such a huge part of the story I won't reveal it here. On a particular "job", Ward wakes Celia, who immediately denies being dead, but proceeds to take him on a journey through the streets and sewers of Brawenal City in search of her murderer. Over the next several days, both Ward's and Celia's lives are forever changed.
Ward is such an awesome character! He's funny and awkward and blindly naive when it comes to the way things work--which serves for some excellent storytelling. He constantly surprises both himself and Celia with some of the chances he takes throughout this book, and he even manages to come through for her on more than one occasion. He's sweet and a bit noble, and I found myself rooting for him to make it from the very beginning.
Celia is another great character, full of spunk and wit and some tougher-than-tough attitude, and she and Ward clash constantly--which also serves for some excellent storytelling! The romantic tension between them is obvious, but not in an annoying or overpowering way. You truly never know if they're going to end up together in the end, but you never give up hope.
WARD AGAINST DEATH is a fun, exciting, suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages to the very end (I read it in a day). I happily give it 5 stars (as I've said before, Entangled produces nothing less!), and urge you all to pick up a copy and get to know Ward today!