The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater

May 23rd, 2018 Kimberly Review 44 Comments

23rd May
The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater
The Unblessed Dead
by Rhiannon Frater
Series: The Hidden Necromancer #1
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

When I younger, my mother saved my settlement from the Unblessed Dead that would have killed us all. It cost her everything to reveal her necromancy and sent shockwaves through our stringent religious settlement. Convicted of heresy against our sacred Lost Texts, she died soon after.
Since then, I have worked hard to maintain my Pious Standing so that when I turn eighteen I will be selected by a suitable husband at the Bridal Auction.
As the large clock in town square ticks down to my eighteenth birthday, the dead have been appearing in my garden. If I’m discovered, I’ll face the Necromancer Trial just as my mother, oldest sister, and I did all those years ago. This time I fear I will not survive it.
To add to my worries, an enigmatic handsome young man has arrived in the settlement. Around him swirls a green aura only I can see. Is he here to help me? Or does he have more nefarious plans?
My name is Ilyse Nott, and I fear I am a necromancer.
If I am, my life is over.

dystopian ZOMBIE magical well written

The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater is the first in her new series, The Hidden Necromancer. The world was overrun by zombies and slowly rebuilt despite the continued threats.  Frater takes us into a religious settlement which has cut ties with the new world. Frightening and suspenseful The Unblessed Dead was an addictive page-turner.

The world was overrun by zombies, and vast areas of the continent remain infested. Walled settlements have developed, some modernized and all connected by railway.  Some groups seeking solace made drastic changes to avoid past mistakes. Frater takes us into a religious settlement with an Anabaptist feel. They follow the Lost Texts. These texts have a familiar vibe; men rule and handle business while women marry and must be modest etc. They also believe necromancers caused the zombie outbreak and that only females can become necromancers since they are the weaker sex and most likely to sin. Worlds like this fascinate me, and I was excited to dive in.

From the first sentence,  “I awoke to discover a dead man standing in my garden.” I was all in. Our protagonist, Ilyse is the one who woke to find the dead man in her garden. She and her younger sister quickly returned the familiar zombie to the sacred graveyard. Oh yeah… I need to know more.

The story that unfolds was refreshingly original and exactly what I have come to expect when I read Frater’s work.  She fleshed out the world providing us with suspenseful threads, secrets, history and nail-biting scenes. Her ease of storytelling allowed the outside world to slip away. She gave us strong, intriguing and fleshed out characters but also allowed the settlement and its oppressive rules to speak for itself creating tension and unease.  Ilyse is trying very hard to remain pious in preparation for her Bridal Auction but fears she might be calling the dead to her front yard.

If stories like the Salem Witch trials, The Forest of Hands and Teeth or Dearly, Departed excite you, then I think you’ll love the world Frater has created. Magic, necromancy, oppression, fear, and zombies without gore made the story a page-turner. While I don’t think this is intended to be Young Adult, the main characters are youths making it perfect for anyone.

The Unblessed Dead, first in the Hidden Necromancer series brought one suspenseful thread of this story to a close, but Ilyse’s fate is very much left up in the air along with other threads. I had to wait a few weeks to get some answers, but for those picking this up today, book two, The Accused Dead,  is also available.  Do not read the synopsis to book two before reading book one.

Frater never disappoints, and The Unblessed Dead was an addictive start to the Hidden Necromancer series.

Frightening and suspenseful The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater was an addictive page-turner. #mustread #Zombies Click To Tweet
Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

44 Responses to “The Unblessed Dead by Rhiannon Frater”

  1. Lorna

    Zombies without the gore? How does that work? Hmm I don’t know if this is one for me. It sounds really dark with all the religious oppression. I hope you enjoy the second one as much as you did this one. And for the record, if I saw a dead guy standing in my garden, I sure wouldn’t be taking him anywhere! ?

    • Kimberly

      Because the outbreak is contained now and the world has rebuilt parts of society in walled settlements connected by trains. So while they are there and breeches are a threat…it is more about Necromancy.

      Wait until you see why she was taking him somewhere!

  2. Daniela Ark

    oh I just left a comment here but IDK where it went 🙁
    Sorry if this is a duplicate. I was saying that I love anything that has to do with the afterlife but I haven’t been lucky finding books I like about necromancers but maybe THIS IS THE BOOK! 🙂

    • Kimberly

      That is my fault. I changed something on the backend that requires approval for your first comment. (since I made change)

  3. Daniela Ark

    I love everything to do with the afterlife but i haven’t been able to find a good book about necromancers that I like! I think this may be it!

  4. Sophia Rose

    This sounds great. I’m not generally a zombie fan, but the overall world of this story would be enough to pull me in.
    Great review, Kimberly!

    • Kimberly

      I think because of the settlement etc you’d do fine with this. The zombies are not the main focus or threat.

  5. sjhigbee

    What a wonderful opening! Thank you for sharing – I haven’t encountered this author and I love the sound of the story:)

    • Kimberly

      I love her work and she has I believe won several awards. She took some time off for illness, but I am so excited to see her writing again.

    • Kimberly

      Yes, this would fall under post-apocalyptic or possibly horror. I love them, it is always interesting to see how man survives a catastrophic event.

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    What an opening line! I’m definitely curious. I’m glad to hear you really enjoyed this; not all first books in series are fleshed out well enough but it doesn’t seem like this one has that problem.


    • Kimberly

      Hehe. Het, we just bought tickets to the Phillies game in June. Hoping they crush the Yankees 🙂

  7. Debbie Haupt

    Oh Zombies I’m still working up the nerve to read the one you gave me LOL Great review, new to me author and a genre that’s making a comeback. Thanks Kim

    • Kimberly

      This focuses more on necromancers, but zombies are of course present. It is funny my husband asked in the car last night, “Why don’t the folks on those shows eat the zombies?Doesn’t cooking meat kill infection?” Yuck. No. No. No.

    • Kimberly

      I am so happy she is writing again. I loved her other books and have already devoured book two in this series.

  8. Ailyn Koay

    a couple of eye rolls later, i wish the mom would have let the zombies eat all the men. Hmm maybe Frater can write that next ! Zombie 2.0

    • Kimberly

      Yes, I really wonder how woman go so far backward in post-apocalyptic settings. I’d like to think we paved the way.

  9. kindlemom1

    Love that this had some kind of conclusion to it by the end. I do like when series do that. I tried one book by this author before and really liked it but for some reason never read anything else. I’ll have to grab this series.