Book Review: Graveminder
By: Melissa Marr
Published By: William Morrow
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Won Via First Reads on Goodreads
I have been a big fan of Melissa Marr's writing ever since I first picked up Wicked Lovely. Her writing style never fails to cast a spell on me. I can't even pinpoint what exactly she does that sets her apart from other writers in my mind, but there is just something about her novels that captivates me every time. It is a strong statement to someone's writing talent for me to love everything they write.
Graveminder deviates from the Wicked Lovely series in many ways. One, it is an adult book, which is something different for Marr who has previously focused her efforts into YA books. Second, there is not a member of the fey in sight in this one. However, there is still plenty of what I have come to expect from Melissa Marr - a dark setting, sinister plots, and expertly crafted characters. Graveminder was actually better in my opinion than the Wicked Lovely series.
The small town of Claysville looks picture perfect to the outside world, but something foul is stalking its streets and an ancient contract requires that all those born in the town must return to it in death. Rebekkah Barrow finds herself compelled to return to the town she had run away from in her youth when her grandmother is mysteriously murdered in the sleepy, peaceful town. As she struggles to make sense of the killing, she is also confronted with the man who has haunted her heart since the first time she ran away - Byron Montgomery.
To make matters worse, Rebekkah is the new Graveminder in town and not everyone seems to be happy about that. The Graveminder's sole purpose is to keep the dead happy so that they don't rise and feed on the living. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this was a zombie book. I hadn't heard much about the plot before I began reading so I was excited to see how Melissa Marr would approach the zombie issue. She did a wonderful job of creating a town and structure for her zombies. I also loved the whole concept of a Graveminder and an Undertaker. Furthermore, I loved the land of the dead. I kept seeing flashes of the town from Corpse Bride in my head as I read.
Overall, this was one of the best zombie books I have read in quite some time. I would highly recommend it to zombie aficionados, fans of Melissa Marr's previous work, and paranormal junkies. Also, as someone who has always been fascinated by old graveyards and stories about the dead, I found this novel to be exactly what I was looking for in a good read. This book did have some major creepy moments so if you're a bit squeamish or easily spooked you might want to keep a flashlight and some salt handy as you read. Salt keeps the dead contained so you should be safe. :)
One Last Gripe: I hope this is a series because I really want to know what the deal with Alicia is...
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The lore behind the Graveminder and Undertaker
First Sentence: Maylene put one hand atop the stone for support; pulling herself up from the soil got harder every year.
Favorite Character: Byron Montgomery
Least Favorite Character: Cissy
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."
Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid 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--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.