Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

Release date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: Publisher provided egalley from Netgalley

Ward de'Ath is an eighth generation necromancer, but not a good one. He dreams of being a surgeon, yet surgery is outlawed, and he's already been caught several times attempting. So when a nobleman calls wishing for Ward to wake his recently deceased daughter to say goodbye, he takes the job, trying to give up his dreams.

But upon waking her, Celia Carlyle insists she's been murdered, and makes Ward accompany her in a quest to prove it. And when Celia's quest becomes more dangerous and intriguing than Ward could imagine, he knows he should leave, yet he can't help but be drawn in the farther into the mystery he goes.

First, happy release day to Ward Against Death!! I worked hard to finish this book and review for today, and I did it! Cake for everyone! (Imaginary, cyber cake, mind you.)

I have quite a few friends who have read this book before me, and all have raved about it. I admitted it looked intriguing, but couldn't understand how they could love it as much as they did. Only once I started it did I understand. The idea of necromancers has intrigued me since I read Garth Nix's Sabriel years ago, but I don't seem to come across a lot of books focusing on necromancy. I didn't realize that that bothered me until I read this book. Yes, it is an evil sounding thing, but so fascinating! I like that it is Ward's innate talent, yet not really. He has the propensity for it, but can't seem to really get it down. And when he seems to start to get it, he doubts himself and fails. I hope he realizes just what he can do in later books!

Ward and Celia's voices are interesting, and a good match. Ward is timid and intellectual while Celia is physical and dominating. Ward doubts himself and all that he does, never sure if it's what he should be doing. Celia jumps into situations head first and just goes. I love each character's growth as they spend more time with the other. Ward becomes more proactive and seeks to fix things he would've just let pass at the beginning and Celia begins to let people in, especially Ward, despite her best efforts. They rub off on one another and really become more complete with the other around. (Awwwwww!!!) Besides, they have super good chemistry that is just aching to explode!

My big complaint for this book was a lack of explanation of the setting. Some books work quite well with their information gradually being given to the reader, but this really didn't even happen. Ward names all of these places, countries I presume, that he's wanted in, but I don't know what kind of world this is supposed to be. There's no real history given, other than lots of mentions of "the Ancients", and no way to know topography, excluding some vague mention that it didn't snow often wherever they were.

The only other thing I didn't like in the book had to do with narration. While I loved the points of views of Ward and Celia, I didn't quite get the inclusion of narration from Karysa. This is because we get her point of view a total of two times. I felt like it might have been thrown in to explain something else that may have been cut out in editing. When I first read a bit from her point of view, I thought it was interesting to add the view of an antagonist to the story; it also fixed a lot of confusion I had, but I expected her to be followed more than two times. I just think to either leave it out or commit. And, actually, it wasn't the big deal I seem to be making it out to be. :) :) I'm simply nitpicking because there's not much at all to criticize with this book.

Ward Against Death has a great formula working for it. Interesting idea, steady plot, loveable protagonist, and good execution. It all leads to a very fun and memorable read!

Risk a paper cut? Fans of anything paranormal will squee over Ward Against Death like Justin Bieber fans. But most anyone will squee over Ward and his completely endearing personality. :)

To buy:  Amazon


  1. lol my review is full of squee: http://nomaliciousreads.blogspot.com/2011/08/ward-against-death-by-melanie-card.html haha

    But I agree with everything you said I wanted to know more about the world - and I hope we do find out more in the second book (since they are traveling - I think we will get more? Hope so!)

    I'm used to reading books where the bad guy pops in and out so the part with Karysa didn't bother me with only being a few times in her POV!

    I'm glad you liked it! I must say as I read 'but couldn't understand how they could love it as much as they did.' I was worried you didn't like it.

    Great Review!


  2. You are quite right about the traveling... One would think that would all get cleared up!

    It wasn't so much that the bad guy pops in and out, it was that it went from the focus being straight on Ward and Celia, then randomly on Karysa for a couple of pages and then not back to her but for once.

    I said that because the synopsis seemed decently interesting, but it didn't seem to have the potential to be as amazing as you guys thought it was, though my first impression was wrong! I guess if Jane Austen taught us anything... :)