Bid My Soul Farewell by Beth Revis
Bid My Soul Farewell (2019) is the sequel to Beth Revis’ novel Give the Dark My Love. You need to read Give the Dark My Love first. There will be some spoilers for that novel here.
When we left Nedra and Grey in Give the Dark My Love, they had uncovered the treachery in their government and exterminated the culprit. Now Grey is working for the emperor as a diplomat. Nedra, meanwhile, has become a necromancer, which is illegal and punishable by death. She has created an army of zombies (one is her sister) and she refuses to give them up.
As Grey is sent on a mission for the emperor, Nedra agrees to accompany him. As they travel, they attempt to find information about necromancy and to reconcile their significant differences.
In my review of Give the Dark My Love, I mentioned three things that gave me trouble with that book: (1) I didn’t believe in the romance between Nedra and Grey, (2) I didn’t believe in Nedra’s abrupt personality change, and (3) the story was relentlessly dark and I couldn’t find anything to enjoy about it. All of these problems are magnified in Bid My Soul Farewell.
Nedra and Grey never had much in common and I never felt their chemistry, so now that Nedra is living in a castle with an illegal (and vicious) zombie horde, it’s hard to understand why Grey is still pursuing her. We’re supposed to feel sorry for Nedra — she’s mourning the loss of her sister — but it’s hard to do that when she’s made her sister into a zombie.
Bid My Soul Farewell is darker than its predecessor. Even though I didn’t believe in Nedra’s turn to the dark side (it doesn’t fit what we know of her), it was still agonizing to spend time with her. But readers who loved the deep dark depression of Give the Dark My Love will probably enjoy wallowing in even more misery here. It was just too unpleasant for me.
I listened to the audiobook version of this duology which was produced by Listening Library. Mhairi Morrison reads Nedra’s chapters and Bruce Mann reads Grey’s. I still think this was not the best casting. Bruce Mann’s voice sounds a little too old and Mhairi Morrison’s voice is too sweet to make a believable necromancer.
“She has created an army of zombies and she refuses to give them up.” This is always a bad sign!