Review: Silence by Michelle Sagara

by Michelle Sagara
Narrated by Alexandra Bailey
Series: The Queen of the Dead, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by DAW, 2012
E-book, Purchased
289 pages (9:22 hours)
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: A-
Synopsis: It began in the graveyard… 

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night.  During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was.  For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan’s death.  But tonight was different.  Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery.  There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags.  And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death….

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief.  Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn’t known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead.  In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic.  That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living.  And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma’s group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead.  But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone’s guess.  And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen.  Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her.  But only time would tell what Emma’s true destiny was….

Death was silence, loss, guilt. And anger. But life led that way, anyway. From birth, it was a slow, long march to the grave. Who said that? She couldn’t remember now. But it was true. They were born dying. If they were very lucky, the dying was called aging. They reached toward it as if they were satellites in unstable orbits. And then when they got there, they were just dead. One moment in time separated the living from the ghosts.


Everything happens at night.

The world changes, the shadows grow, there’s secrecy and privacy in dark places. First kiss at night, by the monkey bars and the old swings that the children and their parents have vacated; second, longer kiss, by the bike stands, swirl of dust around feet in the dry summer air. Awkward words, like secrets just waiting to be broken, the struggle to find the right ones, the heady fear of exposure — what if, what if — the joy when the words are returned. Love, in the parkette, while the moon waxes and the clouds pass.

Promises at night. Not first promises — those are so old they can’t be remembered — but new promises, sharp and biting; they almost hurt to say, but it’s a good hurt. Dreams at night, before sleep, and dreams during sleep.

Everything, always, happens at night.


  • The book deals with death–death of Emma’s father and boyfriend, Emma seeing the dead, Emma and her friends maybe dying. But it’s also about living and the value of “life”–even for the dead.
  • I like Emma’s friends–even the flaky ones! They all come through for Emma and believe the things she’s telling them…even when they’re unbelievable.
  • Emma does what she thinks is right even if she might not live through it.
  • She doesn’t know who to believe so she follows her instincts.
  • Eric and Chase don’t know what to make of Emma and her friends. They don’t usually become involved, but they do in this case and they have trouble understanding Emma and her friends.
  • The narrator, Alexandra Bailey, does an excellent job with the narration. Her voice is very clear and concise which I appreciate as I sometimes have trouble hearing a book clearly.


  • A lot is left unexplained in this book–Who are the necromancers? Why are there necromancers? What do the necromancers do with their power? Why are Eric and Chase fighting them? I assume we will learn more in the second book and for now I’m content to wait–perhaps because the next book is already out and I’ve bought it!


  • I like this story a lot. Emma is a courageous character and her other friends have her back. I liked the audio version of this book so much I used my Audible credit to get the next book in this series–Touch.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?