Monday, January 13, 2014

The Necromancer's House: A Novel by Christopher Buehlman

Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Ace Hardcover

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago. 

Andrew has long known that magic was a brutal game requiring blood sacrifice and a willingness to confront death, but his many years of peace and comfort have left him soft, more concerned with maintaining false youth than with seeing to his own defense. Now a monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her. *synopsis provided by Goodreads*

As with many of the books sitting on my TBR, the description suckered me into giving it a chance. So when I won a free copy from a Goodreads giveaway, I was excited to have it on the list. What I didn't anticipate was how uncommon the book truly was. The writing style was different than what's on the market today in the sense that it was uninhibited, openly brash and at times, crude. Yet, that's exactly why I enjoyed it.

I had some trouble adjusting to the author's style as I began the book, but became more comfortable by the middle. Not unlike stepping into foreign country for the first time, I had to find my footing within the world that the author created because his world allowed for the use of magic in the everyday lives of his characters. Sure, it was similar to the world I currently live with its use of computers and cellphones, but there were also a clear tether to a much older time with the inclusion of myths and legends from centuries earlier.

The characters were very much like modern day people who made a lot of bad choices and yet there was also a spark of hope that they might redeem themselves. Andrew, Anneke, Chancho and others were recovering alcoholics, plagued by the events in their past either directly or indirectly caused by their substance abuse. Not everyone in the story was a magic user. Many were regular people who had no clue what was going on around them. That layer of secrecy gave the users (people who wield the magic) a bond akin to that of a fraternity, sorority and the like. It allowed for some pretty interesting interactions between the two groups, in my opinion.

Now, this story asked me to suspend a lot of belief, but the reward was worth the effort. There were a lot of themes that played out within the story. The use of magic was simply an added element by the time I hit the middle of the book. Mainly the journey of the story covered the principle of Karma, the idea that what you do or put into the universe comes back to you. It was repeated time and again in several of the character's actions. Toward the end of the book, there was a sense of completion, having come full circle.

Not everything that occurred was pretty or filled with rainbows. There were a lot of scenes filled with dark, morbidly occult writing in line with many of the characters being magic users and performing tasks as such. Humor was present in many of the scenes which provided a nice contrast to the darkness. Overall, I enjoyed the book once I found my footing. It was a different way of looking a world filled with people who could use magic and those who couldn't. If you're looking for an off-the-wall, magical journey into something slightly different the world around you, pick up this book. It's a great way to escape the doldrums of normal life for a while.

The Necromancer's House: A Novel by Christopher Buehlman is currently available for purchase at many retailers in hardback, Kindle and audio-book formats. By clicking on the link below, you can purchase a copy from Amazon.
The Necromancer's House: A Novel by Christopher Buehlman

No comments:

Post a Comment