In my upcoming new YA fantasy, In the Ravenous Dark (out today!), one of the main characters—one of the love interests, in fact—is dead. This bit of information always seems to pique people’s interest, because, well, how is he dead and still walking, talking, and falling in love?
In Ivrilos’s case, he’s a guardian spirit bound to our protagonist, Rovan, in order to control her, particularly her powerful blood magic, but then the two of them become reluctant allies and eventually something more through their shared interest in toppling the underworld authority. It’s through the duality of blood and death magic in the book that these two characters, living and dead, are able to interact and even touch. But this got me thinking about the other types of dead characters I’ve read in (mostly) recent (mostly) YA books, what makes them tick, and more importantly, what makes them compelling. Below are a few of my favorite reads. Expect diversity, queerness, and above all, amazing dead characters!