Author: Michelle Sagara
Published By: DAW
Date Published: May 1st, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Recommended Age: 14+ (see violence below)
Reviewed By: Joanna Celeste, http://joannaceleste.com/
Book From Home Library
Emma lives in the night, in the silence, in that special place where she doesn’t have to pretend. One night, a terrifying ghoul kisses her, changing her world while she sleeps.
She begins to notice things that weren’t part of her perception before, and soon she discovers she can converse with the dead. This has its benefits, like being able to speak with her deceased father once more. It also has its drawbacks, such as that if she makes the full transition (into what, we aren’t entirely sure), Eric—the mysterious new kid in school—will have to kill her.
Aided by her amazing friends, Michael (an autistic boy with a big heart and a fascinating insight into the world around him), Allison (who has more to her than meets the eye), Amy (the popular girl who is yet loyal to her longtime friends)—and new (albeit reluctant) allies in Eric and Chase (who act like brothers but aren’t; they’re compatriots in the war against necromancy)—Emma decodes what is happening to her. Will her personality win out, or will this transformation change the core of who she is?
Things are complicated by the pressing urgency of saving a child from a fire, and an evil necromancer out to take what he considers rightfully his—endangering Emma and her friends in the process.
Joanna Celeste's Thoughts:
Silence is an evocative and haunting introduction to the "Queen of the Dead" trilogy, Ms. Sagara's segue into contemporary paranormal YA. Her previous fare has dominated the fantastic, and while Ms. Sagara warns us at the outset that this book will be different, her trademarks are all present and accounted for (including her brief-stroke world-building, exquisite descriptions, the rhythms of her pacing; her thrilling climax has the undertones of every awesome CAST novel with the heroine finding the strength and the compassion inside herself to make unexpected changes and discoveries).
Ms. Sagara has a way with bringing characters to life and into my heart very quickly. My two favorite “side characters” were Michael, who adds depth and tenderness to the story, and Petal, Emma’s fat, adorable Rottweiler, who adds humor to balance the grim.
However, a lot happens in a short period of time during the climax/resolution, and I’m left a little bemused. Even though I know this is a series and I’m a major fan of many series, Silence ends at a “Wait, what? It’s over?” point, which might have been fine if I had had more time to make sense of everything that had changed during the climax.
That said, I would not recommend this book to someone new to Ms. Sagara. I would recommend they wait until Touch (the sequel) comes out in May, and in the meantime I would recommend them to Cast in Shadow—by the time they get through the CAST series, Touch will be out and they can read Silence and Touch one right after the other.
(To fellow fans, particularly of her CAST series: I laughed, cried, clutched this book for dear life, and thoroughly enjoyed a classic Sagara story. The "CiP-esque" ending and the rare "Wait, what?" moments notwithstanding, I would still recommend this book.)
Language: None that I recall.
Adult Content: Some violence, moderate horror elements (people bathed in green fire, creepy graveyards, a Kiss-of-Death-esque scene, etc.) and a transformation process that is mildly disquieting.
Violence: Imagery of child trapped in a fire (dies by choking, not by burning), person burned alive, supernatural violence involving chains into hearts, some supernatural fight scenes involving knives, guns and soul-consuming fire. (Such violence takes up about one-sixteenth of the storyline, but it’s implied throughout conversations and scenes in between so it feels more pervasive.)