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Review: Twice Dead by Caitlin Seal

Review: Twice Dead by Caitlin Seal

Title: Twice Dead

Author: Caitlin Seal

Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen

Pub date: 18th September 2018

‘Naya, the daughter of a sea merchant captain, nervously undertakes her first solo trading mission in the necromancer-friendly country bordering her homeland of Talmir. Unfortunately, she never even makes it to the meeting. She’s struck down in the streets of Ceramor. Murdered.

But death is not the end for Naya. She awakens to realize she’s become an abomination–a wraith, a ghostly creature bound by runes to the bones of her former corpse. She’s been resurrected in order to become a spy for her country. Reluctantly, she assumes the face and persona of a servant girl named Blue. 

She never intended to become embroiled in political plots, kidnapping, and murder. Or to fall in love with the young man and former necromancer she is destined to betray.’

I’m generally not somebody drawn to books involving necromancy in their premise, but having enjoyed Reign of the Fallen, I decided to give Twice Dead a look. I have to say that I was not disappointed and truly enjoyed the story. The tale is one that gets to the core concept of the narrative – that Naya is transformed into a wraith – quickly and without a great deal of set-up, allowing for immersion in her world and understanding of what it means to have been resurrected to unfold naturally and without vast chunks of heavy exposition.

As with many protagonists in YA fiction, Naya has ‘unique’ elements that set her apart from others in her position, yet these are not overplayed and she does not become overpowered compared to the rest of the cast of characters, allowing each to have their moments and faults and failures without ever seeming too perfect to be true. Her transformation is not one that she immediately gets to grips with, nor is comfortable with, her hesitation and missteps ones that keep the reader interested and invested in her story. She’s a likeable, relatable character, never too arrogant even on occasions when she might have the right to be, and seems, well, human. However, given some of the subject matter in the novel, that we don’t see a great deal of the true emotional impact of events is also something that potentially keeps her at a distance from the reader. This said, it makes for a lighter and engaging read that’s easy to pick up again from where you’ve left off. If anything, I didn’t want to read through it too quickly because I didn’t want it to be over too fast.

The romance is a nice enough addition to the narrative, though it doesn’t (thankfully) hinge on it quite as much as the blurb would suggest. There’s also some LGBT representation that is handled sensitively and thoughtfully, which was lovely to see.

All in all, I look forward to the next in the series!

I received an ARC of Twice Dead from NetGalley and the publisher.