Ward Against Darkness by Melanie Card

August 20, 2013 Review 14 ★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ward Against Darkness by Melanie CardWard Against Death by Melanie Card
Series: Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer #2
Published by Entangled Teen on August 27, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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The last thing Ward de'Ath wants is more trouble. On the run from both the law and the criminal underworld, Ward and Celia flee Brawenal City only to stumble into the mansion of a powerful evil necromancer. And when Ward discovers the man possesses a dangerous grimoire, his duty leaves him no choice. He can't allow the necromancer to keep the grimoire. But the mansion is filled with monsters--human and undead--and Ward has no way of telling who's friend or foe. The only person he can trust is Celia who dominates more of his thoughts and feelings everyday. But there are still laws in the way of anything but friendship. She's still dead and he's still alive . . . for now.

Note to self: I really have to stop picking up books that are not the first in a series and trying to make sense of them. Luckily, most stories are built with the same basic elements, so it wasn’t too hard to catch up with this one!

Ward de’Ath is on the run with Celia, the young woman he brought back from death in the last book (and he’s still not quite sure how he did that). We jump right into the action as these two are trying their best to escape from the bounty hunters that are after them. They leap off a cliff into a river, and when they wind up on the shore they discover that they’re right at a way station, a place where they should be able to rest and recuperate before leaving.

Unfortunately, this place is more than it first appears to be–it’s a mansion belonging to an evil necromancer named Macerio who is in possession of one of the only remaining grimoires, and Allette is begging Ward for his help in rescuing her from Macerio’s clutches. And while Allette was begging for help and trying to seduce Ward, Celia was left to her own devices. She stumbles across Val, a man who knew her in her former life and is now one of the vesperitti controlled by Macerio.

There is a lot of tension between Celia and Ward in this book. It’s immediately obvious that they have feelings for one another, but they’re both fighting those feelings. Ward doesn’t want to get involved with Celia because she is technically not alive, and Celia is doubting her feelings and wondering if she’s tied to Ward. It’s a struggle between these two because as a reader you just want them to admit to it, but then it’s the tension that keeps it interesting and makes it better in the long run, isn’t it?

The pacing in this book was good, though there were a few places where it felt like it was dragging. For the most part, though, the story was fast-paced and full of action, magic, adventure, and fear. Ward is coming into his own as a powerful spell-caster and maturing, while Celia seems determined to be by his side, even if she isn’t sure what or who she is anymore. Even without a romantic relationship, these two are cultivating the seeds of a very strong friendship that can only work well in the long run. I look forward to reading the next books in this series!

14 Responses to “Ward Against Darkness by Melanie Card”

  1. brandileigh2003

    It is very hard to read a book out of order, I am so weird about starting in order that with TV I can’t watch unless its the first or I immediately dont like it

    • Laureen

      It is really hard! I have such a bad habit of picking up a book because the cover is shiny and the back blurb sounds good and then… After I start reading I learn that it’s not the first. All the time! With TV I just can’t do it, but I find with books some authors do a good job summing up what happened before so I’m not too lost.

  2. Kritika

    I used to read children’s books out of order when I was younger, and it wasn’t too bad, but I feel like as you get older the series are more complicated and you have to read them in order.

    This series sounds really cool! I’ll keep an eye out (for the first book 😉 )

    – Kritika @ Snowflakes and Spider Silk

    • Laureen

      I think children’s books are a little better at keeping each book in the series as a stand alone (or at least they were when I was younger!). Now, though, it seems like you need to read the previous books to find out who everyone is! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    I’m so picky about reading books in order, I don’t know if I could handle reading a second book without reading the first one first! haha. I mean, they’re supposed to include enough back information so you’re not lost, but I never trust them to do so. But I’m glad that didn’t hold you back from reading this one and enjoying it enough! 🙂

    • Laureen

      Yeah, my problem is that I don’t realise that it’s not the first in the series because I don’t do the smart thing and check. I see a pretty picture and a great blurb and I’m sold. Sadly, a lot of books don’t do a great job of explaining what happened before, so I don’t blame you for being afraid to try them! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    You made me laugh when I saw your comment about not picking books on NetGalley that aren’t the first book in a series. I picked a couple recently because the cover was great without noticing they were the second book. Now I check because I hate reading books out of order!

    • Laureen

      All. The. Time. For some of them I’ve had the first one kicking around and it’s the impetus I need to start reading that series, but most of them? Nope. So I hit my head on the desk and just start reading. I much prefer reading books in order though! And now I don’t want to go back and read them because I already know what happened. Thanks for commenting (and I’m glad I could make you laugh!).

  5. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    I have to read the first in the series too because I just have to know everything about a story. I’m like that with movies, books, games, you name it. I love the sound of this, having a necromancer villain and hunting down the grimoires sounds so fun! I’m going to have to track it down. Thanks for your review and sharing this wonderful book.

    • Laureen

      I try to read the first book in a series before going on to the next one, but sometimes it’s just not as quickly obvious when you ask for a book (that looks and sounds so good!). Oh well. It was actually really good! Thanks for commenting!

  6. Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    So you didn’t read the first book then? I do that sometimes and then I want to kick myself when I get confused as to what’s going on. Hehe. I’m glad you were able to get caught up in the story though despite this being book 2, and I’m definitely curious about the Ward/Celia relationship! Sounds like it’s going to get more and more interesting as the series goes:)

    • Laureen

      I always get suckered in by the pretty cover and an interesting blurb! It definitely sounds like it’s going to get more interesting as time goes by, so I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Giselle

    Hahaha I could never read a book that is not the first in a series if I haven’t read the others. I get all twitchy and stuff >.< I have done so once unintentionally though. But anyways it sounds like this one wasn't a complete failure so there's that. It sounds like a really cool and unique premise, too! I hadn't heard of this one before. Great review, chickie!

    • Laureen

      I get twitchy about it too! Sadly, this doesn’t mean I stop accidentally reading books out of order, so I’ve learned to cope for the most part. It was a really interesting book anyway. Thanks for commenting!

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