Finn Fancy Necromancy (Book 1 of the Arcana Familia) by Randy Henderson

Twenty five years ago, 15 year old Finn Gramaraye was framed for the crime of using dark necromancy. His sentence was to spend the time in the Other Realm in a shapeless form as the Fey of that world used his memories for their entertainment. His time is up now though and upon his return to the mortal world he learns that someone – or something – is trying to frame him again and send him back, this time forever.

Finn only has a few days to find out who wants him back in the Other Realm so badly and to try and prove his innocence in the crime. The Arcane Enforcers won’t be easy to convince though as he’s already been found guilty once before.

Though the premise of Finn Fancy Necromancy sounds somewhat dour, the book itself is really very lighthearted. Right from the first page we are immersed in an fantastic world where magic is real and the whole world doesn’t know about it. It’s almost akin to Harry Potter, a reference that is actually made in the book.

Because he was sentenced to the Other Realm in the 1980’s, Finn’s mind and memories stop there. His friends and family as well as the world around him have changed in those twenty-five years, but Finn himself has not. The people closest to him are different now, grown up – some for the better and some for not. The struggle for Finn to try and piece together a life when your family is so different now was almost heart-breaking at some points.

Part of the charm of this book I think is the numerous 80’s references threaded throughout the story. It reminded me of my own childhood in those halcyon days. With his mind and personality stuck in that time frame, Finn makes references and uses slang that was popular in that time. It’s amusing to both the characters in the book and to the reader.

The book answers as many questions as it poses, leaving it open to a sequel or two. As it is credited as a Book 1 of a series, this is hopefully a certainty.

Fast pace and furiously funny at times it reminded me of the early Harry Dresden novels or the Discworld series. Absolutely charming, I cannot wait to see more in this series.

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