After months of little sleep, a constant plague of violent voices in his head, and a host of mysterious tattoos that keep appearing on his skin, Darren Green is barely holding on. In act of desperation, he goes to the house of necromancer Silas Thornwood in the middle of the night. Silas isn’t exactly amused to be dealing with a half dead man on his doorstep, but it’s obvious that Darren is in serious trouble. Untrained and full of power, Darren has been attracting dangerous ghosts and they are slowly killing him. Worse yet, it is Silas’ fault.
As Silas begins to deal with Darren’s ghost problems, he’s find himself increasingly attracted to the younger man. And Darren is more than interested in the gruffly protective necromancer. But more dangerous creatures than ghosts are coming and it will take Darren and Silas working together to stop them.
Marked by Death is the first in Kaje Harper’s Necromancer series and, like with most of her works, it’s the characters that steal the show. The overall story has its ups and downs and there isn’t quite as much detail to the world building as I’ve come to expect form this author, but I think most fans of the paranormal are going to find this one pretty enjoyable.
Darren and Silas are a sweet couple that work well together from the start. Their relationship is rather rushed and, while it’s not instalove, it does seem like insta-something. That said, I didn’t really mind that here because I liked both characters so much. Silas’ familiar, Grim, is equally charming and his inherent sass was a wonderful addition. He’s a cat and his actions and mannerisms are written as very cat like. I think Grim was one of the highlights of the book just because any cat lover in the world is going to recognize and love his inherent arrogance and cheek.
Marked by Death was an interesting, though somewhat uneven read. I felt like as a reader I needed a bit more world building to understand the how and why of what was happening. But the pacing was strong and the author does an excellent job of building and maintaining tension, both with regards to the plot and character development. I got the impression that Darren and Silas really do belong together and that the danger associated with what Silas does is very real. It’s easy for paranormals to come off as hokey or silly sometimes because the stakes can feel exaggerated, but that doesn’t happen here. The story and it’s characters are well grounded, which I appreciated.
I admit to being a long time fan of Kaje Harper’s so I’m always excited when I can snag one of her books for review. Marked by Death wasn’t quite as strong as some of her other works, but I still enjoyed it and I’m certainly looking forward to the next in the series!