Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

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Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: After being found guilty of a crime he did not commit and sent to a fairy limbo land for 25 years, Finn Gramaraye is ready to get back home. Unfortunately for him, home is where the family is and they are all a little bit crazy - and necromancers. Join Finn in this fantasy comedy about coming of age when you turn 40.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 400 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783297238

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Douglas Coupland suggested that all families are psychotic and he may just be right if that family consists of necromancers. The usual family dynamic is already a little messed up when you are one of four kids, but when you throw in the power to remove souls and reanimate the dead, things can get even more complicated. After 25 years, Finn returns home to find that some things have changed, but his family will always be a nightmare.

The breezy fantasy comedy is perhaps not the most common, but fans of Tom Holt and Andrew Harman will know of its existence. Balancing the supernatural with humour is no easy mix; the genre can quickly descend into a level of geekery that baffles the average reader. In ‘Finn Fancy Necromancy’ author Randy Henderson is looking to write something that will appeal to all reader types, but never manages to achieve this goal.

The story of ‘Finn’ is an intriguing one. A necromancer is imprisoned at the age of 15 for a crime he did not commit. Now nearly 40 years old he returns home still living in the 1980s, whilst his family has moved on. The book is part coming of age (for a 40-year-old), part crime investigation and part fantasy. On their own, all three elements work. Finn Gramaraye is an interesting character who is very likeable; reading about him missing signals from the women around him is particularly amusing. The crime is also well thought through; you really want to know who would condemn a 15-year-old to decades in prison. Finally, the fantasy is fun in parts – but there are so many parts.

The life of the Gramaraye family appears on the surface to be pretty normal. They have all the trappings of a slightly messed up bunch; sibling rivalry, an ignored sister etc. However, their life is far from mundane as they deal in magic. A world of hidden alchemy, necromancy and wizardry is a compelling one for any fantasy fan, but Henderson tries to fit in a little too much into one book. There is magic, but also fairy folks, gnomes and sasquatches. Ideas explode off the page and the heart of the book is lost as Henderson is once again distracted by telling the reader about another fantasy element.

The centre of this book is Finn and his relationships. The book is at its best when Finn is forced to choose between his family and the truth. Proceedings should have been simplified to concentrate slightly more on the family dynamic, without necessarily losing the fantasy elements. All Henderson needed to do was save up some of the ideas in this outing and place them in a later book. It is hard to really care about a character if you never get to know them. In the case of Finn we do, but his brothers, sister and various acquaintances fall into caricature as they are never fleshed out.

There is an incredibly sound foundation at the base of ‘Finn Fancy Necromancy’ that makes it an interesting read. A family who must hide their magic from the world as they squabble amongst themselves is ripe for exploration. I imagine that future outings from the Gramarayes will really build upon this potential, but in the case of book one, things are a little muddled and overenthusiastic. For this reason, the core relationships in the book are a little lost in all the white noise.

One of the best writers of fantasy comedy is Tom Holt so you can try out May Contain Traces of Magic. If you want to know why families are psychotic, you can check out the man that coined the phrase Generation A by Douglas Coupland.

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Buy Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson at


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