Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Graveminder

Before I start .... BRILLIANT! Just absolutely and creepily brilliant! 
Alright, onto the review ...


Three sips to mind the dead . . .

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

I saw this cover a while back and read the title and just swooned. I committed the release day to memory and waited impatiently as I reread the synopsis over and over - both excited by what the synopsis promised and worried that it wouldn't deliver.

Well, it did!

The story opens up strangely: a little old woman is tending graves, her talk amicable to the silent mounds, her practices a tad strange. Then she sees a teenaged girl - dirty and pale, and scared. She reaches out to the young girl, takes her home and feeds her ...

And then we snap to Bek - a nomad whose heart exists with her grandmother, the solitary soul from the beginning, in a little town with strange burial laws called Claysville. Bek is far from home, a troubled past keeping her far from where she knows she belongs, but when she finds out her grandmother is dead, she rushes back - even though it means coming face-to-face with her old love interest, Byron. Together, Byron and Bek discover a layer to their little town that they've only ever had glimpses of before, leading to an ultimate conclusion for both.

Graveminder was a great read. Very much in the gothic tradition with a definitive modern edge, the books opens in the thick of it and keeps going, having the reader hanging onto the book, forgetting her need to study, and pressing on to find out what else can happen next.

Bek is an interesting character - she's prickly and proud, but with a heart of gold you only begint o understand in this book. Her complicated relationship with her own past, the people around her and the world of the Dead keeps her P.O.V. fresh and entertaining - even though you want to yell at her to just grab Byron and ....

Byron himself is so complex - in a way that is both frustrating and calming. He's our rash young hero - pulling into a fight before he realizes what's going on, an inquisitive mind addled with paranoia and protectiveness, a great contrast to the way that Bek almost calmly accepts her fate and trusts her own instincts.

The town is very frustrating, and the rules for the worlds are not entirely set out yet, and I eagerly await the next in the series (Oh, there had best be a series ...)

For more info:
Melissa Marr's Website:

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