Darren Green is adjusting well to his recent change in circumstance. He went from being plagued by ghosts and drained of a power he never knew he had, to training under the surly necromancer Silas Thornwood. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also sharing a bed. Silas may not be the best person to serve as mentor to Darren given their power doesn’t exactly align, but he’s reluctant to see Darren go elsewhere. Silas hasn’t needed anyone in a long time, but he wants Darren in his life.
When a rash of ghostly activity in a neighboring town becomes overwhelming, Silas and Darren take a road trip to deal with the problem. Almost at once, Silas realizes there is something sinister at play. The local necromancer hasn’t been doing his job and there are far too many ghosts for business as usual. With the help of a local sorcerer, Darren and Silas delve into a case cloaked in grief, desperation, and dark magic. Both men must risk everything to order to put the situation right.
Powered By Ghosts is the second in Kaje Harper’s Necromancer series and a strong follow up to its predecessor. This book picks up almost directly after the end of the first book, Marked By Death, and they must be read in order.
We meet again with necromancer Silas Thornwood and his young apprentice Darren Green just a few days after the events in Marked By Death. Darren is slowly learning to harness his newfound powers, while furthering his romantic connection with Silas. They’re still in the early days of relationship, but they read like a well-established couple. This does strain believability given how little they actually know about one another, but as characters they work so well with one another that I didn’t really mind. Darren and Silas just fit and while Silas tries to be protective, it’s obvious that Darren is his equal in nearly every way. They’re a couple that feel in tune with one another and, as a result, it’s easier to connect with them as a reader.
We still don’t see the more in depth world building I would like to have; readers are given enough to build a rough scaffolding, but I think more details regarding the world in which Darren and Silas live and work would give a more clear picture of the hows and whys of the work they do. Additionally, we are introduced to two new characters, one of whom works and one of whom doesn’t. We meet Pip, Darren’s familiar, a devoted and somewhat silly terrier. Like Grim, Silas’ familiar, Pip is written with such personality it’s impossible not to like him. Any dog lover will recognize his absolute loyalty and dopey antics with fondness. The second character, Jasper, a local sorcerer, is less enjoyable. I recognize the point of him, but he often feels wedged into the action and he read as a disruption rather than integrating with the team Silas and Darren have created.
On the whole, I enjoyed Powered By Ghosts and felt it was a fitting sequel to Marked By Death. Silas and Darren make a strong, engaging couple and, along with their familiars, they make the kind of family most people will enjoy reading about. The world building could be stronger and not every new character feels like such a good fit, but if you liked Marked By Death, you’ll want to grab Powered By Ghosts.