Book Review: The Unquiet Dead by Chris Dubecki

Tyler didn't ask to be a necromancer, and he doesn't want to get involved when he finds a mysterious mausoleum holding a spectre that's trying to break free, but when he ends up caught up in the supernatural chaos, he's not going to sit back and let anyone else he loves get hurt. Now, with the help of his friends and new mentors, he'll have to learn to hone his abilities and find a way to stop the spectre and those who want to release it.

Book Review: The Unquiet Dead by Chris Dubecki | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, necromancers
Title: The Unquiet Dead
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 333
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I can summarize in one simple sentence what made this book stand out for me:

The characters and their situations were so realistic, relatable, and normal.

And when I say normal, I mean it in a great way. I think Tyler was the closest I’ve ever found to a character who was actually an average, everyday, just-like-you-and-me person and who acted the way an average person would to the supernatural stuff that was thrust upon him. The way he and his friends got involved actually felt believable.

But everything was realistic period, not just the way Tyler reacted to the supernatural. I feel like everyone could find something to relate to in this book. From the anger and confusing residual feelings Tyler still had for his ex, to the feelings of betrayal when he found out one of his best friend had been lying to him, to the pain and anger he felt toward his not-there father, to the worry that his other-ex-turned-friend’s new boyfriend was harboring a grudge against him, to the way he eventually got overwhelmed by everything and sank into a haze and hole of despair, to the relationship problems between him and his current girlfriend—I keep using the word realistic, but that’s truly what it was.

The characters were also three-dimensional, and even the side/background characters seemed like they had their own lives going on. There was a lot of diversity too—different genders, sexual orientations, races, and even mental and physical health problems (Tyler had panic attacks and needed sleeping pills, one of his friends used a wheelchair, and his friend’s brother had some sort of mental health disorder, though I have a feeling that last one might turn out to be supernatural-related).

I also thought all the stuff about the necromantic magic and wild magic was intriguing and worked really well. Magic in books has a tendency to get out of control and just change depending on what the author feels like, but this actually made sense.

The only problem I had was that the book lacked urgency. There was a clear goal, stakes, etc., and the plot was intricate and flowed well, but I guess it felt kind of slow moving. So it was a great story, just not quite un-put-down-able for me.

Overall though, I loved how relatable and three-dimensional the characters were and how fascinating the magic was, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Tyler and his friends!


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    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂 I haven’t heard of the Doomsday book, I’ll have to look it up. I did enjoy this one though, and it’s a great one if you’re in the mood for urban fantasy!

  1. Aralyn

    Ooooh, necromancy is so cool. It’s so uncommon in YA (or I’m looking in the wrong places).
    The fact that it’s supernatural with relatable characters? Excellent. Makes me really want to read it. Like, I don’t have anything against the strong protagonists that take everything in stride and stoically because it’s escaping to somewhere cool. But having down-to-earth MCs in something like this is such a breath of fresh air. I’ve always wondered if someone like me were put in those positions…’cause I’ll say that I highly doubt I will be as tough. I take sleeping pills, too. All those human quirks really piques my interest for this.
    Awesome review 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like it’s probably out there, but I can’t think of any other YA books I’ve read with necromancy, so maybe it’s not super common.

      I actually am kind of tired of those perfect, stoic MCs because I can’t relate to them, but that’s why I liked this MC so much! Definitely a breath of fresh air every time you find super realistic characters 🙂 And I KNOW I wouldn’t be like those other MCs. I’d way to scared to just jump into fights where I could die and whatnot! Thanks 🙂

  2. sjhigbee

    Yes – I also like the ordinary type of main character who has found herself in a tricky situation and has to deal with it as best she can. Though I do get VERY sick of the protagonist who seems to spend all her time rushing headlong into yet another crisis, despite being advised by caring friends/lovers/relations that it is a thoroughly bad idea… This one looks really interesting, Kristen. Thank you for sharing:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      It just seems like most of the ordinary characters who get put into these situations suddenly lose all their ordinari-ness and become instantaneous superheroes, you know? So it’s to find ones that still feel real. But I completely get your complaint because one of my favorite series is like that. I like everything else and love the other characters enough to get past it, but she does exactly what you describe. Glad this one looks interesting to you, I did enjoy it 🙂

  3. Lola

    I love it when characters act realistic in books, it’s one of those things that can really make a book for me, so I can see why this book worked for you. And how every aspect of the story and the characters reactions felt realistic and believable. And it’s nice to read about normal characters sometimes too. And I love it when the magic systems actually make sense. I might have to check this one out. Although that cover looks so creepy that it wouldn’t have caught my attention. Too bad it was a bit slow and lacked a sense of urgency, but it sounds like there’s enough to enjoy about this book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love it too! So that was definitely my favorite part of the book and why I liked it so much. And it is really nice to read about characters who act normal and relatable, have relatable problems, etc. rather than those heroic characters. I also love when magic systems make sense, and it’s always so interesting to see how the magic is explained, like, how it works. I guess the cover is kind of creepy, but the book itself didn’t come across as creepy or scary or anything. There was still enough to enjoy about the book, even without the urgency 🙂 I think it was just that there were a lot of kind of side scenes not directly related to the main goal but related to the characters and their relationships with each other.

  4. verushka

    I like what you said about this being so normal — too often that actually gets lost in the rush to get to the urban fantasy parts.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do like the urban fantasy parts in books, but I also like being able to relate to the characters and their lives, so I did really like those normal parts 🙂