By Lish McBride
“So, you're telling me the zoo commissioned you to make a zombie panda in order to avoid a potential international incident.”Before I start this review, I'd like to comment on two things. First, I adore the title of this book. It is both amazing and nostalgic, and may manage to replace Phoebe's "Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza" that I always think of when I hear the song. I heart it. Lots. Also loving the title of the sequel: Necromancing the Stone. I loved that movie! Dear Lish: you rock book titles! You are my hero of book titling!
Second, I was shocked by the vast quantity and variety of results when I did an image search for "zombie panda." Internet, you are cray-cray.
Hold Me Closer is the story of Sam, a college drop-out, who is currently working at a fast-food joint. Like Cassel in White Cat, Sam has never really felt like he fit in anywhere. It turns out that there's a good reason for that. Sam is a Necromancer, but his powers have been stifled.
Everything changes when he accidentally damages a creepy dude's car. Said creepy dude, Douglas, realizes what Sam is, and demands to make Sam his apprentice. And by demand, I mean sending a brute to beat him up. When that didn't work, he then beheads Sam's friend, reanimates the head, and leaves it on Sam's doorstep. When that still doesn't work, he just kidnaps Sam. So yeah, that works.
Douglas likes power, a lot, and he thinks Sam is a fairly weak Necromancer, so he's not a threat. That keeps Sam alive - as long as he's useful - but good ol' Doug is still pretty sure he's going to kill Sam eventually and he (Doug) is ok with that.
This is a fantastic book! Mucho love to this series (also a Rosie nominee!). If you couldn't tell, I love me some snark, and Sam and his friends are full of the stuff. There's a lot of action, a bit of torture, magic politics, and some zombies, but it doesn't come across as overly-dark. Even when things are at their worst for Sam and his friends, the book is chock full of fun! Well, I think it's fun. I wonder what that says about me... Anyway, I highly recommend it to fans of paranormal, snark, and urban fantasy, and frankly, anyone who's a fan of awesome.