Title: The Necromancer’s Light (Radiance Book One)
Publisher/Author: Tavia Lark
Shae is a necromancer. A decade ago, he made a deal with a malevolent power in a desperate attempt to resurrect his murdered parents. Shae took the power — and the curse of being forever cold — but left the demon trapped within a magical array. Now the wards are beginning to break, one by one, and Shae has to get home as quickly as possible, before the demon walks free to wreck havoc on the world. But Shae needs help: he needs a trusty sword to guard his back from the monsters the demon is sending after him, and he needs a warm body to keep him from freezing to death. Arthur, an exiled Paladin of the Radiant Order, just might be willing to help Shae … and, just perhaps, their business arrangement will turn into something more ….
Fantasy romance is one of my go-to genres when I need a comforting read. I can usually look forward to epic battles of good versus evil, magic, derring-do, and a happily ever after.
For the most part, The Necromancer’s Light more than delivers. The characters are highly appealing: Shae is prickly and hurt after a decade of harassment and hostility, but deep down he craves warmth and comfort and acceptance. Arthur is devoutly faithful and morally upright, but his faith in himself was badly shaken by a devastating betrayal; he desperately wants to return to the Radiant Order, while simultaneously wondering if that is the life he really wants.
(And I positively adore Georgia, the mercenary captain. She needs her own book.)
The world they inhabit is also fairly well developed. This is an egalitarian society, with anyone filling any role (including Paladin). Same sex relationships are fully accepted. Multiple Deities are referenced, including Vara (a God of the sun, order, truth, and justice); Maiza the Harvest Lord; Mother Sephine, the Goddess of the moon; the Trickster; and the Songbird. No stereotypical dark lord (so over-used in fantasy literature) is mentioned, only malevolent entities called “demons.” My only complaint in regards to the world-building concerns politics and national borders; I wasn’t clear on what, exactly, had happened to turn Lyrisenia into a failed state, and where it sat geographically other than “north.” A map would have been immensely helpful.
The final showdown with the demon was also a tad abrupt. Lark did an excellent job of building the tension and horror, dragging our heroes closer and closer to that ultimate confrontation. And then defeating the demon was just kind of … what? Sorry, no spoilers, but I will say that the how of the demon’s defeat was unclear.
That being said, The Necromancer’s Light was a fun, fast, romantic diversion. I rooted for the protagonists all the way through, and cheered when they got their happily ever after. Recommended to fans of The Tales of Inthya series by Effie Calvin, San Amaro Investigations by Kai Butler, The Stalker Chronicles by Erik Buchanan, and The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magics by FT Lukens.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]