There is a lot to like about this book and let me start with the cover of my edition. Ooh shiny with a nice big member of the crow family on the book!...moreThere is a lot to like about this book and let me start with the cover of my edition. Ooh shiny with a nice big member of the crow family on the book! Nice!
OK on to the book. I liked the characters, starting with Sam. He is the Mr Average that you have as your best friend, who nothing exciting ever happens to-until now. His smart ass friend Ramon is a bit of a joker but when trouble comes, he is deeply loyal to his best friend. Then we have nerdy Frank who is one of life's victims and zombie Brooke. You'll find out for yourself what I mean when you read it. I also loved Mrs W, the sex obsessed pensioner who lives next door to Sam as she was very funny, always disappointed to hear that Sam isn't sleeping around and partying. Ashley was a lot of fun to read about and I enjoyed her appearances. We also meet Brid the werewolf, who is a tough and snarky gal used to taking care of herself, and a few other side characters. They are all likeable and are nicely developed within the book plot.
Then we have the bad guys. As an uber baddie, I just could not take Douglas seriously and I found him as scary as potato salad. If this is the most powerful necromancer in the USA, why would he have Michael, the world's most useless werewolf as his sidekick, screwing everything up? OK so to be fair, Michael is good for comic relief in the plot but he doesn't do much to the evil image of Douglas. He was more Artemis Fowl than Lord Voldemort on the bad guy terror scale but maybe that is how we are meant to feel about Douglas.
I liked the story of poor confused Sam trying to work out what is going on when Douglas wants to kill him, then having to do research on discovering that he is a powerless necromancer. Frank excels himself with his computer research at this point! I liked the fact that the guys had no idea what to do other than wandering around occult shops asking random weirdos for help until they stumble onto someone genuine. That is when the family secrets all start to come out, adding another level of interest. There is also a lot of good humour in the book which readers of all ages should enjoy. There is not a massive amount of action until the end of the book and I would have liked it to be a bit more fleshed out but that's me being picky. The plot did develop nicely and left a few interesting things open for book two.
The one thing that dropped down the book rating a half star was the section of the book when we started switching over to the Brid chapters. A few of these could have been skipped because all that really happened was Brid exchanging insults with Michael and sitting around a cell which was not particularly exciting. And it slowed down even more when Sam gets captured and the whole book slows to a crawl. I just needed the middle section of the book to have kept the same pace as the rest of the book and I would have given this book 4 stars. As it was my interest in it dropped a bit until the action picked up a bit with Ramon trying to help find Sam and Douglas teaching him lessons.
I did however love the zombie panda plot and I was amused by the way that and the Brooke story were resolved. I liked Tia's story and hope to see more of Uncle Nick in the future and of course Mrs W stole every scene that she was in.
So overall the 3.5 star is well deserved. There is one sexual scene but it is very much implied, not described so I would rate the book suitable for adult and older young adult readers.(less)