Friday, July 22, 2011

The Necromancer's Apprentice by R.M. Prioleau

Title: The Necromancer's Apprentice
Author: R.M. Prioleau
Series: -
Published: April 1, 2011
Publisher: R.M. Prioleau
Pages: 114 (paperback)
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Jasmine Na’Darod lived a simple life with her parents and older sister on the family’s farm. She never strayed far from home until the ill-fated Blood Moon arose, basking the country of Caristan with a terrible, sickening drought.

When her mother falls ill, Jasmine and her family are forced to leave home in desperate search of a cure. During their journey, a series of tragic events will change Jasmine’s life forever.

With her former life shrouded and forgotten, Jasmine embraces a new path granted by an unlikely stranger, who, ironically, practices the Art of death and undeath.

As Jasmine is drawn to this enigma of a man, she soon realizes there is more to him than what she initially perceived — his true motives are beyond anything she could ever imagine…

Deeply compelling and morbidly intriguing, The Necromancer’s Apprentice is a beautifully-narrated gothic fantasy with memorable characters. --


Even after finishing the book, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t think I really liked it, but at the same time, I didn’t hate it, even though at first I know I didn't like it. Jasmine was very apathetic towards everything, which for me was a problem. I have difficulty liking characters that feel like that don’t have anything to live for and are at peace with that, particularly when said character announces this detail about themself at the beginning of the book. In my mind, I immediately question, “Ok, well then where’s the room for growth?” Even if a character finds something to live for, the fact that they don’t even want to try looking to begin with is a sign that I’m not going to like who I’m reading about. But as the story developed, Jasmine’s apathetic nature made it possible for the story to focus on the mystery behind Master Dagg, and more importantly, focus on the nature of death and loyalty. The whole thing kind of reminded me of Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist (which I absolutely loved), and appealed to my fascination with the dark and macabre.

However, there were lots of plot holes, unclear character motivations, and lack of developed relationships. I know this was a novella (just a little over 110 pages), and in a novella there’s not a lot of room for long periods of description or investigation, but some more explanation would have been nice. Jasmine goes through a kind of transformation that would have taken years to accomplish, but is accomplished in less than six months. It was unsettling, especially after the horrific events that happen to her and her family in the beginning of the book. I also wanted to know more about the Necromancer, and what kind of magic he was working on down in his tunnels. While the story questions him and his practices, it doesn’t fully explore what exactly was going on and why in a greater context.

But, even with that said, I think that The Necromancer's Apprentice has potential. It was a quick read, it was a dark read, it was a gruesome read, with poetic writing, interesting fantasy elements and a twist at the end I didn’t see coming. But it also needs a good editor and another draft.