Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

Posted May 11, 2012 by Jen in 4 stars, Paranormal YA, Rating A, Reviews, YA Literature Tags: , , ,

Author: Michelle Sagara 
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: DAW
The Queen of the Dead #1
ISBN: #978-0756407421
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format(s): Hardcover (256 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

It began in the graveyard…
      Ever since her boyfriend Nathan died in a tragic accident Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death….

What Im talking about:

      As most of you know, I am not a big YA (young adult fiction) reader. I find a hard time connecting with the (much younger than me) characters, I am annoyed by the teenage drama, and well, frankly, I like smut in my story! With that said, I am so thankful I took a chance and picked up Silence. Right from the get go, I was drawn into this unique story. The prelude, titled Emma, is really well written! I feel like I know her after a few short pages – we see a window into her soul.
      Emma is not your typical teen. She is a bit of a loner – but has many friends and is well liked. After losing her boyfriend, Nathan, to a car accident over the summer, Emma grieves privately by just being. No drama, no tears – she sits at his graveside at night, all alone. She doesn’t even talk with him, but feels better just being there. Her best friend, Allison, is a bit of an odd-duck, not one of the “in crowd,” yet Emma is also buddies with the “cool chick,” Amy. And then there is Michael – a high functioning autistic boy that Emma, Allison and Amy all help get around the school.
      One night while chasing her escaped dog Petal, Emma finds new student Eric at the cemetery. Before they have time for too many pleasantries, a strange woman approaches Emma and causes Emma to fall and hit her head.  Once Emma wakes she begins to realize that she can now see, hear, talk to and touch the dead.
      Silence is gripping and the world building is sharp. There isn’t any “teen drama or angst” for which I am appreciative. Emma is a solid character just trying to be herself and find her way. She doesn’t over-analyze and tries to act responsibly. It works that she is a teen because of her innocence. However she is wise beyond her years.
      Eric is an interesting character. His purpose and goals are hidden, and just like what is happening to Emma, things are revealed to the reader in bits and pieces. We aren’t spoon fed the plot and details. The author makes you “work for it.” The reveal happens slowly, and for most of the story this works really well. I do feel Eric is a bit too cryptic at times, and I often wonder if he was more direct with Emma, he would achieve his goal of saving her better than his method of not revealing much!
      As the story progressed, the slow pace of discovery began to cause confusion for me.  At times things were a little too vague, and I was impatient. It was like the characters were talking around me, and I couldn’t piece it all together until they walked through each step. And although I had to reread a couple sections to make sure I understood what was going on, in the end it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book.
      The story concludes satisfactorily, but we are left with many unanswered questions. Some I can (anxiously) wait to be answered in the next book, but others I felt should have been answered before the end of this book. It was the second set of questions that left me wondering if I missed something or if the author just forgot about the details. And the ending was definitely left WIDE OPEN… (no spoilers here!)
      Overall, Silence is an engrossing read. The fabric of the plot is careful woven to create a tale that is genuinely interesting and exciting. The characters are multi-layered but not overly complex – each thoughtful and compelling. I look forward to find out what is next for Emma and her gang of friends.

My Rating:

Enjoyed – recommend (A-)
Purchase Info:

2 responses to “Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

  1. Wonderful that you took a chance and gave this novel a go. Every now and again, we surprise ourselves when we step out of our comfort zone. 🙂