The Necromancer's Apprentice - R.M. Prioleau A story I enjoyed in general, but I think it would've deserved to be a little longer, in order to develop the characters some more, as well as give more details about Jasmine's apprenticeship per se.

The main problem I had with this story was Jasmine's passiveness towards what happened around her. Her shutting off all emotions made her too bland, like a blank slate on which it'd be easy to write. Had she had a little more passion in her, it might have allowed for more development, for explanations about how she came to accept her new lifeā€”the latter was an abrupt change, after all, with a lot of disturbing events happening, and she went through those like a breeze. There was an abrupt shift in the middle of the book, that I wasn't sure I really grasped: one moment, she was all resentful towards Dagg, then in the next chapter she talked about him as her beloved Master. This, in my opinion, would have needed more "showing" instead of "telling", for readers to really feel how she went from one side to the other. I would also have liked to see more of the Master's teachings.

On the other hand, I quite enjoyed the second part, and the themes explored through this novella. Necromancy is a fascinating subject in itself, because of the questions it raises. The narrative is often fraught with ambiguity: permeated with a dark, corrupted magic that demands "experiments" to be performed, yet hauntingly beautiful in many ways. Some descriptions may need editing, because they were just a tad too flowery and bordering on purple prose. But some others were strong and to the point, albeit in a gruesome way. Although we're not shown much of the world in which the story unfolds, it's alright, because we don't actually need to know: the secluded cave and marshes are good things, providing readers with a definite focus on the characters. This is why I wished we could see more development on that side, for the setting itself is perfect in that regard.

I still don't know whether I should give this book 2 or 3 stars. However, for now, I'm going to settle on 3 all the same: there's definitely potential in this story.