Touch (The Queen of the Dead #2) by Michelle Sagara
Touch (Queen of the Dead #2)
Published: January 7, 2014 (DAW)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: Provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Nathan died in the summer before his final year in high school, leaving behind a mother who was devoted to him and a girlfriend he loved. His mother and his girlfriend, Emma, are still alive; Nathan is not. But he wakes in his room—or in the shrine his mother’s made of his room—confused, cold, and unable to interact with anyone or anything he sees. The only clear memory he has is a dream of a shining city, and its glorious queen, but the dream fades, until he once again meets Emma—by the side of his own grave.
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Nathan wants life. He wants Emma. He wants warmth, sensation, a sleep that doesn’t leave him confused and aching.
But the cost, to Emma, will be incalculably high—because Emma just might be able to give him what he wants.
“Brilliant storyteller Sagara heads in a new direction with her Queen of the Dead series. She does an excellent job of breathing life into not only her reluctant heroine, but also the supporting players in this dramatic and spellbinding series starter. There is a haunting beauty to this story of love, loss and a teenager’s determination to do the right thing. Do not miss out!” —RT Book Reviews (top pick!)
“It’s rare to find a book as smart and sweet as this one.” —Sarah Rees Brennan, author of The Demon’s Lexicon
“The strength of Silence lies not only in the way Sagara seamlessly integrates the paranormal into the lives of her characters, but in how very real those lives are. Sagara captures the way teenagers feel everything more intensely—love, hate, fear, wonder—and uses that to capture the hearts of her readers.” —Tanya Huff, author of The Silvered
“I’ve been a fan of Michelle Sagara West’s writing for years, so I was thrilled when I heard she was writing YA. An evocative and thoroughly compelling story.” —Janni Lee Simner, author ofBones of Faerie
“A spooky and emotionally moving urban fantasy…. Silence distinguishes itself in a glutted field of YA paranormal fiction. Sagara starts with some of the popular plot tropes, but doesn’t take them in the directions you might expect, and the lovable characters and authentic emotion help set the book apart too. It’s a story of loss, grief, and the way life goes on after tragedy, sad at times, but hopeful rather than depressing.” —Fantasy Literature Review
“An interesting and original premise…. Promising.” —Kirkus
“In Touch, Sagara paints an eerie and original picture of the afterlife as she continues the struggle of Emma and friends to free the dead from eternal imprisonment, while battling the necromancers of the Queen of the Dead. Beautifully written, with characters so real – even the dead ones – they could be any of us, Touch is an exceptional addition to a powerful series. Don’t miss this.” —Julie E. Czerneda, author of A Turn of Light
About the Author
Reviewed by: Amanda
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review is spoiler free, it does assume you’ve read Silence.
It is a very rare occurrence that I cry while listening an Audio book. I’m not much of a crier in general (Hunger Games movies notwithstanding), so if an Audio book makes me cry, it’s a big deal.
I cried during the prologue of Touch. The prologue.
Nathan was killed in a car accident four months ago, and Emma hasn’t gotten over it. She’s learned to live with missing her father, who died eight years ago, but the thought of having to live without Nathan is too much. So she goes through the motions of everyday life, convincing most people she’s fine, even though she’s not.
In the intervening months, Emma’s learned she’s a Necromancer, or at least, she has necromantic powers. She’s different from the others with the same powers; unlike them, she sees the dead as people and wants to help them find solace. Not use them for the power they can give her. Because of the events at the end of Silence, she’s become a target, and her friends, who have refused to leave her side, are caught in the crossfire.
Touch is much darker than Silence. If Silence was about grief and loss and the love you felt for someone who was gone, Touch is about acceptance of that loss – and what it can do to you if you don’t. Emma isn’t ready to let Nathan go. Nathan isn’t ready to let Emma go. He doesn’t care that her touch gives him a little bit more of her warmth and kills off a tiny part of her each time. They’re only for each other, and reading about Nathan waking up after the accident, realizing he’s dead, and that he’s left Emma behind, that made me cry.
The story is told mostly from Emma and her friend Allison’s points of view, which is a change from the previous audio book. Allison is worried about Emma. She knows Em’s putting on a show for everyone else, and she knows that one more death, one more loss, will destroy her. She’ll give up the pretense of living and just wait for death. When Chase, one of the hunters sent to kill Emma, starts trying to convince Allison to abandon her friend for her own safety, Allison won’t, even though she’s in danger.
Pretty much everyone’s in danger this time around. The Necromancers want to bring Emma to the Queen of the Dead, and they’ll kill anyone who gets in the way. Friends and family aren’t safe…and they’re also in the dark. Aside from a few friends, no one knows Emma can see the dead, so they don’t know they’ve got targets painted on their backs.
It gets a little preachy toward the middle (there’s a subplot involving Emma and a small dead boy trying to find his way home), but the story is otherwise solid, and the connection between Nathan and Emma is heartbreaking. By the end, we think we know that Emma and Nathan will have to make a choice to let the other go.
But we may very well be wrong.
Sexual content: Kissing