Silence: The Queen of the Dead, Book 1

 
(i)

 

Paranormal adventure bogs down in details.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although the plot is full of ghosts and necromancers, Silence does an especially good job of presenting a realistic depiction of a teen character with Asperger's Syndrome in Emma's friend Michael. He has a unique perception of the world, and the other characters treat him with respect.

Positive messages

Silence doesn't back away from the proposition that the world is a scary place, but Emma and her allies work together to keep fear at bay and offer comfort to strangers who've been traumatized. Although not overtly religious, the action explicitly posits life after death and implies that there's some final resting place akin to heaven.

Positive role models

Emma and her friends are remarkable in their resilience, bravery, and loyalty to each other. Emma shows tremendous empathy for both the living and the dead. Michael, who has Asperger's Syndrome, has a unique perception of the world, and the other characters treat him with respect.

Violence

The main subject of Silence is death, and the characters interact with various ghosts, some of whom died in horrible circumstances. The novel includes a harrowing sequence featuring a 4-year-old ghost still trapped in a burning building.

Sex

It's implied that Emma and her boyfriend Nathan were intimate before his tragic death, but no details are given.

Language

"F--k" is used fairly often, usually in instances of high emotional intensity, and there's also "a--hole."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character's college-age brother shows up drunk at a party, but he's also under the influence of magic.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Silence (the first book in the Queen of the Dead series) is an intense story of paranormal intrigue, featuring a protagonist who can communicate with the dead. There's a fair amount of profanity ("f--k," "a--hole"), some violence, and a lot of supernatural action. Characters interact with various ghosts, some of whom died in horrible circumstances, and there's a harrowing sequence featuring a 4-year-old ghost still trapped in a burning building. One character's college-age brother shows up drunk at a party, but he's also under the influence of magic. Silence is especially sophisticated in its portrayal of a supporting character who has Asperger's.

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What's the story?

In SILENCE, a strange encounter in a cemetery leaves high school student Emma with the ability to communicate with the dead. Soon she's able to see her departed father, but she also receives frantic messages regarding a ghostly child trapped within a perpetually burning building. As she learns to use magic, Emma grows ever closer to becoming a Necromancer, a state of affairs that might require one of her presumed allies to kill her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Silence has an interesting, suspenseful premise and an engaging cast of characters. Unfortunately, the narrative is a little talky, with characters frequently engaging in long, vague conversations about how Emma's powers are supposed to work. When it shows action and character development, Silence is effective, but it occasionally breaks its own spell with too much telling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to be able to communicate with a loved one who has died. What would you say/ask?

  • Which other ghost stories have you read or seen in movies? What makes a good one good? 

  • How do people with Asperger's or autism perceive the world differently from most other people?

Book details

Author:Michelle Sagara
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, High school, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:DAW Books
Publication date:May 1, 2012
Number of pages:292
Available on:Hardback, Kindle

This review of Silence: The Queen of the Dead, Book 1 was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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