Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Melissa Marr is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series Wicked Lovely. Her debut leap into adult fiction lands her in the small community of Claysville, a town where the dead walk free unless their graves are not properly tended. Into this eerie maelstrom, Rebekkah Barrow descends as she returns to a place that she once believed she knew. Kelley Armstrong justly described Graveminder as "a deliciously creepy tale that is as skillfully wrought as it is spellbindingly imagined." A new genre author to watch. [via GoodReads]
In 1712, Abigail Barrows unknowingly opens a gateway into the land of the dead. With no other choice, she unwittingly signs a contract with Death in order to bring the deceased back to where they belong. Abigail was the first Graveminder who ensured the dead were taken care of, and if they should rise, it was her responsibility to escort them back to the land of the dead.
The Undertaker helps the Graveminder to bring the dead back while protecting her at all times. Through the years, the position of Graveminder and/or Undertaker has been passed down to someone in either the Barrows or Montgomerry families.
Due to their important positions as Graveminder and Undertaker, the townspeople of Claysville have also agreed to the contract with Death. Because of this, they have been granted longevity and near perfect health. Since the contract was agreed so many years ago, no one is quite sure what it says, but they do know that anyone who is born in Claysville can leave, but they will always return. And should they die outside the town they will rise from the dead.
Rebekkah Barrow has just become the newest Graveminder after the passing of her beloved grandmother Maylene. She has recently returned to Claysville after being away for some time and has just reunited with her long lost love, Byron Montgomerry - whom surprisingly has just acquired the position of Undertaker. When one of the dead begins to wreak havoc in the town, it will be up to them to save not only themselves, but the townspeople.
This is Ms. Marr's attempt at adult fiction - or urban fantasy as I like to call it. I found it a little disconcerting that it is a third person narrative - and, to make it worse, there were varying points of view chapters too. Once I got over the confusion though, I did not have a hard time grasping who was who and what was what.
For some reason, I had trouble liking most of the characters in this novel. I especially did not see eye to eye with Rebekkah - she fit in more in one of Ms. Marr's young adult novels than she did in this one. Byron was okay - yet forgettable. Although he was more likeable then Rebekkah, he was still nothing to write home about.
I found the story very predictable. While I enjoyed the parts that took place in the land of the dead - these areas were much more vivid and the characters were superbly interesting, yet these good moments were not enough to overlook the others that weren't so good. The "rising dead" had a zombie feel to them - they rose from their graves and bit people - yet they specifically note that they are not zombies. Since I was always a step ahead of the characters and the mystery the story felt long and uninteresting.
The best part of all, it (so far) seems to be a stand-alone. We don't get many of these lately - so that gives it extra kudos in my book. All in all, I found this one to be more on the weird side than anything else. It was okay - but not something I'd recommend (at least, not in the foreseeable future).