- Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Avon Books (Jun. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380788144
- ISBN-13: 978-0380788149
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,522,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Death of the Necromancer Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 1999
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Bent on avenging the execution of his godfather by a duplicitous count, master criminal Nicholas is diverted by a series of eerie events that forces him to confront an ancient evil. By the author of The Element of Fire. Reprint. PW.
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A fifth of the way in I was hoping it would never end but the book ground me down somewhat and I was flagging towards the end. A good, complex tale with interesting characters who are never quite fully fleshed out and a sense that the stories of their magician friend Ari, and Madeline’s grandmother, are a bit lacking.
Story could probably have been trimmed a bit to make it flow more effectively.
I'm glad I did.
Some books, when you read them a second time, years later, have lost their lustre. This is not one of those books; I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time round.
So, what did I enjoy?
All the characters are just a bit larger than life - the gentleman-thief, the actress, the sorcerer, the great detective, and so on - but not so much so that it disturbed the enjoyment of the story. They felt real - they lost their tempers, sniped at each other, and made mistakes.
There's an awful lot of running around, and a fair number of corpses. To be fair, I think the actual plot was the weakest point of the story, because there were a few holes in it, and things just got wrapped up a bit too neatly and too quickly at the end, but...
I think this probably the main reason why Death of the Necromancer stayed with me for so many years. Wells writes the city of Ile-Rien vividly enough that I could see the dark, foggy streets in my head. It had weight and depth - it felt real.
Thinking on, this is the book by which I measure all other gaslight fantasy.
Note: The Element of Fire comes before this book, but Death of the Necromancer can be read as a standalone (which is what I did first time around).
The writing is desciptive but compact so you don't end up speed reading over any floweryness. The author skillfully weaves the backstories and history into the plot so that the feel of the world is drip fed to you without having to relax the pace of the storyline.
The magical Victorian era world isn't exactly a new idea, but Wells puts enough originality and detail in to make it feel fresh and believable (as much as a fantasy world can be). I enjoyed the characterisations and the various tensions that existed therein, there is enough fallibility and fault to give some dimension to them and make them believable. I was a little dissapointed that the bad guy didn't feel as bad at the end as I expected but I'll deduct 1/10th of a star for this and round it up to 5.
Very enjoyable indeed, a high bar to set as I go to purchase my next M Wells book.
Really good, and well worth a read :)
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