Rating: 4.5 starsnecromancers dilemma
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Length: Novel

It’s been about two months since Angel has settled into a new life with his vampire partner Simeon, with his brother Isaac and his apprentice Daniel under his care. Things are still a little strained in his relationship with Isaac; the two have not quite learned to interact as adults now that Isaac has grown. And after losing his lover, Isaac seems even more despondent and remote than usual. Daniel is slowly recovering mentally from his past abuse. He has learned to trust Angel, and seems to need Angel’s presence as a steadying force. But Daniel is also still struggling with both his magic and his confidence.

On the plus side, Angel’s relationship with Simeon is thriving. Angel has gone from someone determined to be fiercely independent to a man able and willing to lean on his lover for support. Not that Angel has mellowed totally; he is still strong willed and stubborn and stands up for himself and those he loves. But he has also opened his heart up completely to Simeon and found a true love with the vampire. What’s more, Angel’s magic is responding to Simeon in interesting ways. As a necromancer, Angel has a connection to death magic, which is allowing him to draw magical strength from Simeon. Angel isn’t sure what it all means or just why this is happening, but he is a little nervous about telling Simeon what is going on.

Angel is also continuing to consult for the Boston Police Department, helping them sort out magical crimes. Both humans and werewolves are turning up dead, and with some sort of ritual apparently performed on the bodies, it seems clear there is some dark magical intent involved. On top of that, when Milly’s ex-husband shows up causing trouble, Angel gets involved looking to protect his friend, only to realize his magic is amplified in strange ways. Soon Angel and Simeon are once more embroiled in a magical mystery involved a troll-hybrid, the fae, and a serial killer. With the help of Simeon, a wee dragon, and a hell hound, Angel is determined to figure out who is behind the murders and stop the killer before it is too late.

Necromancer’s Dilemma is the second book in S.J. Himes’ Beacon Hill Sorcerer series. I recently listened to the first book in audio, and I was so captivated by the series that I immediately reached for the second book. I am happy to say that this second book continues the saga of Angel and Simeon quite well, nicely balancing the romance and the mystery.

Angel is such an engaging character and I totally love him. He is a guy that has been shouldering major responsibilities since childhood, first fighting in the Blood Wars and then raising his brother. Angel is strong and confident and used to relying only on himself to get things done. I love his bit of snark and the way for all his toughness, he always puts others first and truly cares about other people. In this story we can see so much growth in Angel. He is still the bad ass he has always been, but we see how his relationship with Simeon has changed him to be more open, more trusting, and to be able to share himself in ways he hasn’t in the past. I just love these guys together. There is such a sweeping, old fashioned sense of romance to these stories. Simeon has a very old-world vibe and there is such a grand romantic sense to their relationship.

From the suspense ends, the book gives us another engaging mystery. The story has some nice world building, introduces us to new magical creatures, and has a sense of excitement as Angel slowly puts all the pieces together about the various crimes that are happening and how they are connected. We also get some development on some of the larger series arcs, such as with Daniel’s family and with the magical connection between Angel and Simeon. Himes’ world building is top notch in this series and I found myself really engaged in both this particular mystery, as well as the larger series elements.

This book sets up some interesting threads for the next book in the series and I am eagerly awaiting reading on. For me this series has it all: great mystery and suspense, fabulous world building, engaging storyline, and two really likable characters in Simeon and Angel.

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