Graveminder by Melissa Marr

(Graveminder, #1)

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene's death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.

Melissa Marr is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series, Wicked Lovely. This is her debut leap into adult fiction.

  "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Much like the dead call to the Graveminder, this book called to me from the bookshop shelf when my friend and I were browsing deals. The cover was intriguing enough but the plot sealed it - unique and horror sounding. It turned out to be a new born gothic, not horror, and when I first started reading it I worried it would primarily be romance. Romance did turn out being a part of it but this died down after awhile.

The story itself is awesome with its details, originality, and possibilities. There could even be a series here if the author ever wished to continue with it. The pacing is a slow thing, so be prepared to have patience for things to unravel. It's almost sixty or so pages in before the main characters are even filled in about what's going on. Since it's a gothic type, a slower build-up sort of accompanies the genres pacing style anyway.

As the main character, the graveminder Rebekkah sort-of sucks. She's distant, stubborn, annoying at times with being so uptight toward people, doesn't give chances, never lets her guard down, and has a massive chip on her shoulder. Byron as the male main is much more likeable and easy to sympathize with. The townspeople are intriguing enough with their backdrop melodrama, but what really shines are the dead, especially Mr. D. There are a lot of secrets buried there with interior motives I'd enjoy reading about.

One thing that did irritate me was the author's dialogue skills. They were pausing, hesitant, and choppy. It kept taking me out of the book during every scene - action shots or not. I think this was one reason I took longer to read this one than normal and why it didn't hold my attention as strongly. The final half started it's redemption, earning another star for its rating.

Since it claims to be a modern day gothic, does it work as one? In a way it does. Slow pacing, secretive buildups. In ways it works with horror with zombie type munchings. And in ways it works as romance with fate (but restricted.) Overall it works as a pretty good book with a few flaws, but such a cool story it's worth picking up.

   Book Quotes:

“Some mortals--like you--are already half in love with death. It is who you are, and I'll not make it harder on you by telling you things you don't need to know. Ask me again when you die. Then I'll tell you everything, anything, nothing.” 

   Official Song:

The Bittersweet Constraint by Jill Tracey

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