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Graveminder by Melissa Mars

Graveminder by Melissa Marr is the author's first adult novel.  She's well known in the young adult fiction world for her best selling Wicked Lovely series that details the exploits of some royal courts in the fey world.  While neither the book jacket nor the author's website says that Graveminder is the start a new series, the book itself has that kind of feeling to it because there a lot of questions left open regarding some minor characters in the book etc.  I also read in the press release for the Graveminder (which you can find at the author's website) that the book is already being developed into a television series.  This intrigues me, and I will say that I'm more likely to watch the series than read it.  Unless the tv series turns out be crap or populated by annoying actors that I hate, in which case I won't be watching it either.

Graveminder sets forth a unique world contained in a small town, and it also puts a new spin on the undead  concept (they are called Hungry Dead in the book).  Marr's undead are more vampire than zombie though the newly undead have zombie-ish qualities until they gain strength.  It's an intriguing concept.  The story itself is what kept me reading less so than the writer's style or writing (which to be honest, while not the worst writing I've read, is also not the best writing I've read).  Though just to be clear Marr's undead are not called vampires in the book.

Rebekkah Barrow is called home to insular, peculiar Claysville when her beloved grandmother Maylene is murdered.  A wandering nomad who has spent years constantly moving, avoiding the only home she's ever known and the only man she's ever loved, Rebekkah plans to stay in Claysville just long enough to see her grandmother properly buried according to the town's strict funeral laws and to observe the eccentric traditions Maylene taught her while they attended all those funerals years ago.  In Claysville there wasn't a death or funeral that Maylene didn't attend in order to properly mind the dead to ensure they "stayed where she put them."

Unfortunately Maylene never explained the very specific purposes and motivations behind these traditions or what happens when they aren't observed by a graveminder.  Claysville is a very special place, a very odd place, and Rebekkah finds out that her future and her destiny is tied up in the town, having been decided for her directly by Maylene several years ago and indirectly by the town's founders hundreds of years ago.  You see in Claysville there's a very thin line between the worlds of the dead and the living thanks to a contract the town founders signed in which those born within town limits received protection from disease in return for never leaving town.  Now it's Rebekkah's turn to fulfill the terms of that contract with the help of her Undertaker, who's the only person who can escort her over into the land of the dead.

I recommend this book for fans of mysteries with supernatural overtones.  Check it out the next time you visit the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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