Necromancing the Stone

Necromancing the Stone is the sequel to Lish McBride’s Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and just as enjoyable. All of the positive things that I loved about Hold Me Closer apply equally well to Necromancing the Stone. The only partial downside about this one is that because the conflict is being caused by someone in the wings, the bulk of the conflicts driving the book forward are personal. If Hold Me Closer was about Sam explosively coming into his own power, Necromancing the Stone is about Sam growing comfortable in Douglas’ house.

Still a great time, though, and getting to know characters like James (I can never remember specifically what type of creature he is; basically an Eastern European house spirit sort of like a Russian domovoi but directly helpful instead of potentially malignant) and the garden gnomes is a lot of fun, and more people than just Sam mature over the course of the book. We also get a bit more backstory for Douglas.

If you enjoyed Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, you will definitely enjoy this one. Recommended.

Plot summary

The plot summary contains spoilers! Show it anyway.

Sam is having trouble settling into Douglas’ house. Aside from the general creepiness factor of living somewhere he was formerly imprisoned, the lawn ornamentation has been hazing him with increasingly nasty tricks. He is also having difficulty figuring out James, who does not approve of a lot of the things that Sam does. He is also uncomfortable on the Council, but is supported by Brid’s father, the fey hound.

Unfortunately, Douglas is still extant, albeit now a ghost. One of his emergency fallbacks in case he was ever killed was to place his soul inside of a jade egg hidden within his house (and with personal meaning to him). His plan is to kill Brid’s father, kill Sam, retrieve his stone (which he believes will allow him to regain a physical presence in the world), and then take the Council over and rule the Northwest. James is simultaneously helping Douglas and, on Douglas’ orders, acting as if Sam is his master, as well.

Douglas successfully kills Brid’s father, throwing the werewolf pack into chaos. Sam tries to speak to her father immediately after the killing to ask what happened, but a goddess intervenes and refuses to let Sam interrupt his rest.

Because Brid is having trouble with the wolf pack, she breaks up with Sam (he being a major point of contention). Back at home, Fred is able to calm down the lawn ornamentation and is inducted as an honorary gnome, and they find a chupacabra hiding in the guest bathroom (apparently he was purchased online by another lawn ornament).

Douglas sends James to kill Sam’s sister Haley as a warning, but James instead simply sticks a knife in her bedroom door. This freaks out Sam, who ends up sending James to advise his mother on enhancing her magical security. James, and then Douglas himself, are thus unable to find the egg when they search the house.

Sam accidentally stumbles on Douglas’ egg, and not knowing what it is (but knowing it’s filled with Douglas’ magic) he puts it in his magical hideaway pouch for safekeeping.

The Council sends Sam out to the peninsula to meet with a bigfoot. On the way, he discovers that he may have some semblance of witch abilities, as he is able to talk his way out of a thorny plant. The bigfoot needs some magical gewgaws to allow them to go about in normal society, and tells him about his brother Gary who is working as a delivery man and having particular trouble.

In an effort to prove to the pack that he is worthwhile, Sam brings the Council and a human detective to look at Brid’s father’s murder scene. Although they are unable to find anything, Sam raises a bunch of dead things to help him look (including Brid’s mother in wolf form) and firmly puts Eric, an uppity wolf, in his place.

In another trip to the bigfoot peninsula, Sam runs across his uncle Nick who is trying to get back to Seattle. Nick eventually tells him that his binding is gone, and Sam realizes that Douglas’ ritual had not been completed; instead, Douglas must still be out there somewhere and the power Sam thought was Douglas’ is actually Sam’s native talent.

Gary the bigfoot finds Sam and company and shows them Minion, a zombie that he found living in his stretch of woods. Sam questions Minion and discovers that Douglas is hiding out there and is looking for the egg. In an attempt to play out the conflict on his own turf, he takes the egg to Brid’s father’s death meadow, and summons Douglas with a protective circle between him and everyone else.

The two of them throw down, Douglas maintaining the upper hand, but the chupacabra is able to destroy the egg (they disrupt magic). Sam is given a bit of help from the wolf pack’s guardian goddess, but refuses to kill Douglas when Douglas is helpless because of James, who he realizes is being torn apart by this conflict (Douglas being the only family James has ever known).

Sam successfully convinces Douglas that he is harming James, and in an effort to set things right Douglas steps onto Sam’s knife. This completes the original power transfer ritual from book one, and Sam is flooded with Douglas’ stolen power.

James is heartbroken, but grows to accept his newly adopted oddball family, and Sam throws a wake for Douglas to help him with his grief.