Silence by Michelle Sagara is an outstanding entry in the Young Adult paranormal genre. Emma is an engaging heroine. Necromancers and necromancy is an area of the paranormal that has not been flooded with entries like vampires, werewolves and even ghosts. Even if it had, there is always room for a well-written book about them, and Silence is that.
This is the opening book in a series, and as such, there is a lot of exposition and getting to know the characters. They are all intriguing and fairly well fleshed out. They are a little bit impossibly good-hearted and loyal for typical teenagers, but fascinating nonetheless. There is a tenderness in handling the characters, particularly a high-functioning autistic boy and even the family dog. The characters are integrated into the story and not tacked on. They reminded me a little of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Scooby gang in their loyalties and interactions, and that’s not a bad thing.
The world of necromancy and the powers of necromancers is exciting. Emma is at the center of forces eager to use her powers or to prevent them from being used. This book barely scratches the surface of those powers, but hints at a wealth of possibilities to fill more entries in the series.
Sagara wisely keeps the plot narrowly focused here so that the story keeps moving along briskly. You get to know the characters and the situation as you are moving forward, rather than have the book stop for heavy bouts of exposition. The story moves along briskly and the pages fly by, while leaving the impression that only the tip of the iceberg has been explored and so much more awaits to be discovered. It is a complete story in and of itself, but leaves you eager for the next chapter. Highly recommended. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.