Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

rating (Alex Craft, Book #2)
Urban Fantasy

Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft.

After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.

The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own.

I'm happy to report that I enjoyed this one more than the first. While I still don't like the idea of having a grim reaper as a real character (and a potential love interest at that!), I was more comfortable with him this time around. Alex is as enjoyable a heroine as usual, especially as we find out more of the mystery surrounding her abilities, history and genetics. Falin is back but the role is changed due to revelations from the first novel. He's as yummy and interesting as ever.

One of the main contradictory elements of the story stands as Alex's abilities and disabilities. Her powers come at high cost - when she uses her grave sight, she's temporarily blinded. Raising shades from bodies come with a price as well. Trying to blend the costs of her abilities while being forced to use them, amidst the confusing mess of characters who are all mysterious with their own hidden agendas, makes fun reading. Having to weight whether the risk is worth it to use an ability or not sometimes results in disastrous repercussions.

The author injected more enthusiasm this time because of how in-depth the fae world has grown. It's almost like an adult, surreal fairytale at times. The different characters were fascinating, especially the almost funny Nightmare Man. The Witch and King were unique as well, helping make this flow quickly into an easy read. Price again writes with a talented hand, including a depth of detail to make the literary world come alive in convincing, alluring ways.

While the first didn't have a plot issue, the plot for this one was even better. There are so many possible personal disasters now for Alex and several characters that it's easy to become engrossed. A hefty dose of suspense, too, as in the fae situations much was at stake. Price is a gifted writer with her phrasing and keeping the moment taut when much is at hand.

It seems the love triangle is still here and planting itself even stronger.

As before, the book really takes off toward the end, making it engrossing more then than when initially starting it. The series so far has its up and downs for me, being mediocre on some fronts while excelling in others. I'm anxious to read the third after that cliffhanger.

   Book Quotes:

“I barely noticed. I was still reeling from the sight of Falin. Of him standing beside her. Of him touching her. My mouth went dry, and even Malik's soulful voice faded to a buzz in my ears. Something in my chest had frozen. Maybe it was my lungs, because I couldn't seem to breathe. 

“Death watched me, amusement once again lifting to his dark eyes. Unlike me with my bedraggled clothes and knotted hair, he looked good in the morning light streaming into my apartment. Okay, actually, he looked exactly the same as when I’d first seen him when I was five years old, but recently I’d come to appreciate the way his black T-shirt pulled tight over the expanse of his shoulders and his faded jeans hugged his ass. Not that I was looking, of course. I mean, he was Death.” 

   Similar Reviews: