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Literature / Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer

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By Melanie Card

"How Long was I dead, boy"
Celia to Ward

Ward could save lives...and control death.

An action romance series about a necromancer by the name of Ward De'Ath who is hired to temporary bring back a rich man's daughter Celia Carlyle from the dead. She being actually being the daughter of the works version of a mobster guilt trips the young necromancer into helping her find out who killed her before the spell which brings her back wears out. Ward manages to perform a much more powerful spell to the point that he isn't sure if she is alive or dead. After which we find said girl not only the daughter of a powerful man, but alsoraised from birth as an assassin who would kill Ward after he stops being useful


The series goes on to include evil necromancers as opposed to our protagonist, evil necromancers vampire like Mooks, all in a Crapsack World. Significant Character development happens as Celia grows fond of Ward as they face threats all around.

Books Released So Far

  1. Ward Against Death
  2. Ward against Darkness

Tropes present in this series

  • And I Must Scream: the Big Bad of the first book sucks out peoples souls. The Big Bad in the second book does the same thing but keeps the souls in jars for decades unable to pass on.
  • Black Magic: Any spell that upsets the "balance of the afterlife"
  • Blood Magic: Used quite a bit in the series even by the protagonist. It is taboo but not illegal in the world.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: He doesn't meet the ghoul; he "creates" the ghoul.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Only on Ward's part because the Goddess forbids sex with the dead. Celia doesn't seem to care or know. He begins to doubt if she is really dead as the series goes on or just stops caring as much.
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  • Character Development: notable on Ward in the second book who when told by Celia that he is being manipulated by someone he responds with he already knew as it had happened in the past. A jab against Celia who manipulated him in the first book.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Ward believes he's a terrible and weak necromancer despite being able to perform things not previously thought possible.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Master can see the future perfectly so far, is the leader of the assassins guild, also very powerful public figure. Highly involved but his end goals are completely unknown.
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  • Master Poisoner: Due to Ward's training in medicine and necromancy he is very well versed in poisons and herbs thus he creates a poison that mimics sickness but not death to distract a man in the first book.
  • Mistaken Identity: Second book Ward is mistaken for an apprentice hopeful for an evil necromancer. Plays along with it so said necromancer doesn't eat his soul.
  • Must Make Amends: Celia by the second book feels she must look out for Ward for dragging him into the whole mess and bringing her back to life.
  • Omniglot: Ward knows a lot of languages justified in that he is a scholar and needs to read books in multiple languages.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are slaves of powerful and rogue necromancers. They feed on souls with blood being the easiest way to feed on souls.
  • Professional Killer: Celia was trained from birth to be an assassin, as was her mother. It's apparently a family tradition.
  • Punny Name: Ward de'Arth frequently lampshaded with his doctor status calling him Dr. Death. Also a case of Meaningful Name.

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