Kathy Martin's Reviews > Ward Against Death

Ward Against Death by Melanie Card
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Jul 17, 11

Read from July 12 to 17, 2011

This was a very readable but complex fantasy filled with lots of intrigue. Ward De'Ath is a reluctant necromancer. He comes from a family of necromancers but his real love is medicine. In fact, he is fascinated by the idea of surgery. However, surgery is forbidden in his world. He has been pursuing his dream of being a surgeon even though it has gotten him branded and forced him to flee from other countries. Now he has come to Brawenal City and been hired by a nobleman to raise his daughter from the dead. He thinks it is so that the family can say good-bye.

When he wakes Celia he learns that she was murdered and that she is determined to discover who did it. They end up fleeing and Ward needs to do another ritual to extend Celia's life. Because they are being pursued, Ward has to make changes in the ritual the keeps Celia alive. He is much more successful than he could have imagined. She is behaving just as though she were really alive.

Celia doesn't trust Ward or anyone else but she needs to keep him by her in case the ritual needs to be repeated. Her father is the crime lord of Brawenal and she, herself, is a member of the Assassin's Guild and a skilled assassin. She should be able to determine who killed her and why she was killed. She and Ward do a number of investigations to try to unravel the tale.

I liked both Celia and Ward. They were complex and interesting people. The plot was very convoluted and required a lot of concentration to figure out what was happening. I felt a little like Ward when he said,
Damn, and he thought Calbournians wove complicated sleuth-stories. If he had a big blank wall and some chalk--not to mention a couple of days--he might be able to unravel all the threads. Although he still didn't know anything for certain.
The story was interesting and action packed. I think readers who like well-developed fantasy worlds and political intrigue will like this story. I think the plot complexity is what makes this one more suitable for older young adults.
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