Ward Against Darkness

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Expected Release Date: July 18, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Imprint: Entangled Teen
Author’s Website: http://melaniecard.com/
My Source for This Book: Amazon.com
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer
Series Best Read In Order: Yes
Steam Level: Chaste
Pet Peeves: None
Favorite Tropes: Betrayal

Official Blurb:

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.

What Worked For Me:

  • loved how much Celia and Ward grew as characters over the course of this book. In the last book, Celia was little more than a highly-trained assassin while Ward was, well, a bit of a clumsy (yet lovable) idiot with just a hint of something more.  Here, we finally get to see Ward for the man he will someday be — strong, clever, and even powerful. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still the Ward we’ve come to love from the first book, but we get to watch him grow up in many ways.  Celia, too, develops quite a bit, with her uncertainty about the lifespan she’s gained from whatever spell it was that Ward cast on her in the first book, and being forced to take the back seat to Ward instead of always dashing in an saving the day. 
  • There was plenty of action, and the pacing was perfect.  There was just the right amount of “down time” between action scenes, and not once did it feel rushed or dragging. Very well done.
  • I loved that we get to see Ward explore and expand his magic, especially during those rare moments that we got to see him through Celia’s eyes.
  • I also loved that while his magic was growing, he was still Ward, which could especially be seen in those moments when his Oath as a doctor forced him to act in ways that weren’t necessarily the best idea for his own continued health.
  • I adored the fact that the villain is actually pretty scary, and does a rather bang-up job of getting even scarier as the book progressed. More than that, was the betrayal, deceit, and intrigue that surrounded Ward and Celia almost from the very beginning.
  • I also loved the appearance of unexpected allies as well as the rather shocking betrayals that moved the story along some deliciously twisted paths.
  • The ending was fantastic. Full of action, twists, revelations, and just enough of a cliff-hanger to make me scream in frustration.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • C’mon, Ward, would it kill ya to KISS HER ALREADY?! *sigh* The tension that was so beautifully built in the first book takes a bit of a back seat in this one, and though I did feel that there was some progress made in the deepening affection that Celia and Ward had for each other, the fact that they never so much as mentioned it made me want to scream. Can we please, PLEASE, get at least a little kissing in the next book? Pretty please?
  • This doesn’t count against the final rating, but my copy (purchased for Kindle from Amazon) could have benefited greatly from some page breaks between scenes. There were several times that I had to re-read a paragraph because I didn’t realize that I was reading part of a new scene, which pulled me out of the action quite a bit.

I have been a fan of Melanie Card and the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer since shortly after I started this blog. The first book, WARD AGAINST DEATH, has long been a favorite of mine even though I don’t typically find myself reading YA/NA very often, and I knew that this book was going to be amazing.

It’s so nice to be right.

What I think I loved most about this book was the character development. Ward starts off just as we left him — clumsy, insecure, and on the run for his life.  As the story progresses, though, we get to watch Ward grow up quite a bit, and get exciting glimpses into just the type of man that he will someday be — strong, confident, and powerful.

Celia, too, matures from the cold-blooded assassin that we’ve come to know and love into a more toned-down version of herself, with her affection for Ward growing, and the uncertainty of her life span really starting to weigh down on her.

More than that though, we get action, intrigue, and tons of danger, along with some unexpected new allies and some thrilling twists.

I do wish that there were a little more communication between Ward and Celia, as they both kept their developing feelings for each other under tight wraps, but for once, I wasn’t actually reading for the romance.  There was also a slight issue with my copy (purchased for Kindle), where some page breaks between scenes would have really come in handy, but that was a minor issue and not one that counts against the final rating.

Overall, I adored it, and I’m hoping against hope that it won’t take another two long years for me to get my greedy little hands on Book 3.

4half

A very solid 4.5/5 Stars