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Graveminder

Graveminder
by Melissa Marr

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. (goodreads.com)

I’m slowly working through the last of the review books I have, since I decided to not really accept any more. Of course I did jump at the chance to review Graveminder by Melissa Marr because, hey, MELISSA MARR. I say this having still not completed the Wicked Lovely series, mind. (I have a love-hate relationship with that series, I seem to like half the books and hate the other half.) What I DO love about Melissa Marr’s storytelling is her writing, so I knew I had to try her adult novel.

The gorgeous cover of the trade edition, plus the curiosity the summary created helped me stick with the book through a somewhat slow start. I had some doubts that I wouldn’t care much about the characters or the plot when I started reading, but I am immensely glad that I kept on because – WOW! What a creepy and charming novel all wrapped up into one.

I wrote on Goodreads that Graveminder made me think of Sarah Addison Allen teaming up with Tales from the Crypt Keeper. Although the story and characters are not as epic as those Ms. Allen creates, I still got the same vibe once I was a little further into the book that I do in SAA’s novels.

There were aspects of the book that bugged me, though, especially the “romance” aspect. I was a little annoyed by Byron’s constant pining over how much he loooooooooves Rebekkah and how he’ll always be there for her, as a friend, as more, etc. But he loooooooooves her sooooooooo much. Always has and always will. Get over it already, buddy. Find another topic. I’m yawning here. It’s pretty inevitable that these two are going to end up together, so I could have done with a little less pining and a lot more explanation of this whole Undertaker and Graveminder business. I found some of the description of the Underworld place a little vague at times, too. The whole business about Rebekkah being shot and Mr. D. having some secret agenda was slightly confusing to me. I thought I’d missed something and I reread that part twice, still clueless.

What I did love though was the originality of the story. I loved that Claysville has this somewhat paranormal pact where no one dies until they hit 80 and no one can leave. I love Marr’s take on the zombie-type character, without it being a zombie. The chapters with Daisha freaked me out completely (until she became much more sentient). The horror/thriller aspect of the story was original and fresh. Sure the romance parts were predictable, but easily overlooked in my opinion because I was so enraptured by the Hungry Dead.

I have to say that I was almost completely in the dark about what was going on with the Hungry Dead, too, until a certain line had been spoken, then I was almost positive I knew what the Big Reveal would be. I was right, but it was also revealed in a twistier manner than I was expecting so it wasn’t too disappointing once I got to the end.

Overall, I think Melissa Marr’s debut into the adult literary world was a success. I was browsing through reviews on Goodreads and noticed that opinions of this novel are all over the place. I love that about a book! I’m in the middle of the love-hate group. I liked this novel a bunch, but it was slow to start and had some annoying looooooooooove issues (really, Byron, grow up, dude). I was creeped out and stayed up way past my exhaustion point where I lost vision in both eyes (when I get really sleepy my eyes dry out and blur like crazy. I was squinting so hard for the last 80 pages of the book I had a headache by the time I was done!). I am very happy to have been offered a chance to review this novel for you guys.

For those of you who might have started it and not finished it, I suggest this – try it out in October where the weather is gloomy and perfect for a creepy ghost story. Try reading it for Carl’s RIP challenge. Sometimes the right season can help you get into a story, at least I find that happens. Also remember, I found the start slow and almost gave up myself. Besides, look at that cover! I couldn’t put aside a book that looked THAT pretty! 😉

5 comments to Graveminder

  • YAY. I liked this book quite a bit. Then again, you already know my feelings toward the Wicked Lovely series (hint: CRAY BANANAS LAHVE) so I have an author crush on pretty much anything this woman writes. I’m glad you found it a success, too. I enjoyed the creepy part of it. Because it was freaking creepy.

  • I enjoyed this one a whole lot – glad you did, too! I found parts of it a bit vague, too, but on the whole thought the book really worked. I’m wondering if maybe some of the love angst is a carryover from writing so many YA books? Would it have bugged you less if he’d been a teenager? Or the same?

  • stephanie

    How come mine doesn’t have a pretty cover? 🙁
    Anyway, now that I know you enjoyed it I think I am going to pick it up and give it a second try. I was so skeptical…the beginning was just too slow. But we shall see!

  • Pam

    I loved this book, I can’t wait to see what Charlie is up to next.

  • I have had this out from the library but haven’t read it yet. I have a love/hate relationship with her series, too. I really liked the 1st book, didn’t really like the second, and then liked the the 3rd. I really need to finish it. Actually, I might have read the 4th book… It’s sad I can’t remember!