Of the three books I've read in the "Core Specialist Wizard" series, I'm sad to report that I think I got the least amount out of this one. Maybe I was just blown away by the fact that the Enchanter and Diviner books were done really well, or maybe I'm predisposed to be a harsh critic whenever it comes to Necromancer material, but I was hoping for a bit more out of this.
Having gotten that out of the way: this book isn't too bad, especially for a two dollar price tag. It offers a variation of the Necromancer specialist class as presented in the player's handbook, and gives it some of the capabilities of dealing with the undead that are normally reserved for wielders of Divine magic.
Here's the catch: it manages to do it all with an "arcane magic" feeling, as opposed to most other attempts at this which basically say "Here we'll handwave the fact that you, for whatever reason, are apparently wielding divine magic." The Necromancer truly is standing all on its own in its proper arcane shoes.
As with the other two entries in this series that I've read, this book begins with a new skill use: Knowledge (Anatomy). I wasn't as impressed with this as I was with the Con-Job approach to running a Fortune Teller Scam as seen in the Diviner book, and I wasn't really wowed with it like I was with the Profession (Hypnotist) skill shown in the Enchanter book. In fact, I was a bit put off by how mandatory the skill seemed in relation to some of the other feats, class abilities and such. It's not a bad idea, really, I just have high standards for new rule systems in my game that are necessary for the class itself but only really seem to have a focus within that class. Apart from providing a Heal check bonus, I don't think there was much that this skill would allow you to do if you weren't already a Necromancer.
One aspect of this book that I must give glowing praise to, however: the grafts. Most of the time when books try to show me a system where a player character grafts parts of other monsters onto them, I roll my eyes and skim past that part to the other stuff. This time, however? It all works. It makes sense. The grafts as portrayed here arrive as class features (that's right, not feats you need to waste a slot on, not magic items that cost a fortune to pay for, actual class features) that your character just gets as a way of showing that they are advancing through their knowledge of the necromantic arts. And really, that's what being a specialist wizard is supposed to be about, right? Studying one aspect of magic so closely that you begin learning the arcane knowledge that is lost to other people. The hypnotic eye of a vampire or paralytic hand of a ghoul is exactly what that demands (anyone else think that liches are a tad overused/overrated when it comes to arcane mastery of necromantic magic? No? Just me? Ah, well.)
I do recommend buying this book, but only (and I insist, only) if you're actively considering playing a Necromancer but don't quite want to take the version shown in the PH.
[3 of 5 Stars!]