Twice Dead is the first installment in a new series titled The Necromancer’s Song.
The book follows our main character Naya, a naive trade merchant’s daughter from the country of Talmir, who is on her first trade mission in the country of Celamor. Her father waits for her on their ship while she ventures off to meet with the client. On the way there, she’s murdered in an alleyway and later brought to back to life as a wraith by a necromancer. After her resurrection, she learns from the Talmirian embassy that she was brought back in order to spy on Celamor. Now it’s worth mentioning at this point that Talmir is morally opposed to necromancy and because of this, Talmir and Celamor are bitter enemies on the brink of war. There’s not a lot of trust between the two countries. Neya is coerced into spying for her country, but as she quickly learns, things are not as they seem and not all of those she deemed trustworthy can be trusted.
This is a fast-paced, action-filled novel with fantastic world building. I enjoyed the backstory between the two enemy nations, though it took me a bit to get a handle on what was going on. But once I did, I found the intrigue, the politics, the spying and the backstabbing to be quite an enjoyable journey. The magic system in the story was refreshing — the necromancy as presented here was not the type of magic system you often see in stories. When someone is resurrected, they are bound to their former body by runes engraved on their bones. The resurrection process also involves “singing” the soul back to the body, which is a complicated and rather lengthy procedure. I found this system not only unique but genuinely fascinating (and perhaps just a tad creepy!). This is the first book I’ve read about necromancy, and the system as it was presented here was intriguing. It was fun accompanying Naya on her journey as she discovered her new powers, adjusted to her wraith-body, learned about wraiths and necromancers, and overcame her long-held prejudices.
I found the writing to be crisp, sharp and clean, and well-edited (I didn’t notice any errors), and the storytelling and characterization were expertly done. The characters were well-fleshed out, the pace was spot on, and the storyline kept me flipping the page until it ended.
Twice Dead also had some exciting twists and surprises — it definitely packed some punch. The story, in my opinion, was well-thought out and well planned. There wasn’t one point in this book where I was confused as to what was going on. Naya was an interesting, dynamic character, and almost immediately, I felt comfortable in her head.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, action-packed thrillers, spy novels, paranormal adventures and worlds with intriguing magic systems. This was a fun ride that I’m glad I got to be a part of. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the next book in the series.
Note: A big thank you to NetGalley, who provided me an Advanced Reader Copy of “Twice Dead” in exchange for an honest review.