This is a round up of the books I read on the 2nd half of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.
The Reanimator Mysteries: The Reanimator’s Heart – Kara Jorgensen
A reluctant necromancer, a man killed before his time, and the crime that brings them together.
Felipe Galvan’s life as an investigator for the Paranormal Society has been spent running into danger. Returning home from his latest case, Felipe struggles with the sudden quiet of his life until a mysterious death puts him in the path of the enigmatic Oliver Barlow.
Oliver has two secrets. One, he has been in love with the charming Felipe Galvan for years. Two, he is a necromancer, but to keep the sensible life he’s built as a medical examiner, he must hide his powers. That is until Oliver finds Felipe murdered and accidentally brings him back from the dead.
But Felipe refuses to die again until he and Oliver catch his killer. Together, Felipe and Oliver embark on an investigation to uncover a plot centuries in the making. As they close in on his killer, one thing is certain: if they don’t stop them, Felipe won’t be the last to die.
This year, I developed a soft spot for underdog necromancers, with books such as Malum Discordiae and The Necromancer’s Light showing that the much-maligned death magic, like any ability, can be used for good, too. As Cassius from Malum Discordiae said, among magic users, necromancers are the most respectful of the dead.
The Reanimator’s Heart introduces us to another cinnamon roll necromancer, Oliver Barlow, a neurodiverse medical examiner for the Paranormal Society. A lover of solitude and quiet, Oliver is also lonely, socially awkward, and acutely aware of people’s unflattering opinions of him. His only friend is Gwen Jones, a telekinetic who works in the library.
Oliver has been secretly crushing on veteran investigator Felipe Galvan for ten years. They don’t have much interaction at first but are soon prompted to work together on the case of the mysterious death of a nun.
Later, after many encouragements from Gwen, Oliver gathered courage to ask Felipe to dinner only to find him dead in his room the same way the nun died. In his shock, he accidentally reanimated Felipe. Now, they were tethered to each other and must remain close at all times.
The book opens The Reanimator Mysteries. The series is set in an alt-New York where some people have magical abilities. Many of them work for the Paranormal Society, an organization that handles cases relating to anything supernatural. This is a world where anything from vampires, shifters, demons to magic users exist.
There are some very light steampunk touches, such as steamers, which are their cars, and the presence of pneumatic tubes as means of communication. The Paranormal society is housed in a huge building with dormitories, archives, offices, and a fantastic magical library I would LOVE to explore!
Homosexuality is still considered taboo, but members of the Paranormal Society pretty much do as they please. Women also hold positions of power within the its ranks. Other than these liberties, it’s stays true to a vague 18th?19th?-century setting.
The story is written in dual POV in an omniscient third person style, where Oliver’s perspective is presented, and then immediately shifts to Felipe’s in the same paragraph or section. I liked this style a lot because I don’t have to wait for the next chapter to know the other character’s thoughts. The pacing might be a tad too slow for my liking, but there are no info-dumps, the need-to-knows flow seamlessly with the narrative.
I am also glad we get experienced magic users from the get-go. Although I’m mildly disappointed there are no bombastic displays of magic here, the kind that makes your jaw drop. Magic is used sparingly and are mostly muted affairs deployed when murder is being committed or the dead is being raised.
Oliver is especially careful not to show how strong his powers really are, knowing full well the stigma. He has a very nuanced code of morality when it comes to using his necromancy following rules he set up for himself. At the same time, Oliver doesn’t actually know much about his magic because of lack of books on the the topic and because he doesn’t use it enough to test its limits.
Felipe is a healer, a skill useful only to him because he can only do it to his body. Much, much later, he was able to channel his healing abilities to help Oliver. It’s only the first book, so I’m expecting more spectacular magical developments in the later installments.
And I’ve got to say, Oliver and Felipe are two of the most endearing people you could know! I just loved them individually and together! I’m happy Oliver finally found the person who understood him and let him be himself. And Felipe finally have someone worth staying home for and introducing to his unconventional family.
Majority of the plot focused on Oliver and Felipe’s magical connection and their blossoming romance while they investigate the murder. The mystery was very intriguing, especially as the opening scene shows the murder happening. It was a phenomenal opening, and it set my expectations high. The book delivered most of its promises and made me excited for the next one.
My favorite part was how Oliver, ostracized for being different and strange, grew in confidence and strength with the help of a loyal friend, the love of a good man, and most of all, the indomitable spirit of a lone wolf. As a solitary creature myself, I find our boy pretty inspiring and relatable.
One thing, though, the conclusion wasn’t clear on what the bad guys’ goals were. Was it to raise an undead army? Open a portal to another world? Or control people through magic?
While I’m glad there are no villain monologues, I was hoping Oliver and Felipe would have a dialogue about what exactly were the bad guys’ endgame. Also, I’m not sure whether this thread is connected to the sequels or if it was all wrapped up.
The Reanimator’s Heart is a sweet story of love and friendship, an uplifting portrayal of understanding and acceptance, and a gripping tale of magic and death. Don’t mind my juvenile wish for magical flash and bang, overall, this book is suspenseful, fascinating and deeply heartfelt!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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