Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Review of "Graveminders" [32]

Graveminder by Melissa Marr
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061826870
May 17, 2011, 336 pages.

Rebekkah Barrow is not actually a member of the Barrow family by birth. Her mother married a Barrow man and they only lived in Claysville, the family home, for a few of her teenage years, before her mother left her stepfather and they moved out of town. But Rebekkah always felt a connection to the town, a connection she has never found in any of the many other places she has lived, and felt especially connected to her grandmother Maylene. So when Rebekkah is notified that her grandmother has died, in fact, as she finds out upon her returned, has actually been horribly murdered, she returns at once for the funeral.

At once is the important part, because there are a few unusual things about funerals in Claysville. The bodies of people born in the town are never embalmed, the burial held very quickly, always accompanied by a little ritual that was conducted by Maylene. But now that she is gone, Rebekkah must fulfill what she promised her grandmother, that she would conduct the ritual for her when her grandmother died. And it seems that her grandmother's last act before her murder was to mail Rebekkah the little silver flask she will need, so she will be able to stand as the last person at the grave, take three sips of whiskey and say the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”

She always thought this ritual and her grandmother's daily tending of the towns graves was just a bit eccentric, but she soon realizes that these acts play a much more important part in maintaining the safety of the town that she ever suspected. It all goes back to a deal, a deal made centuries ago, that benefit the town's residents in a number of ways, but also requires that certain obligations are fulfilled or the town will pay a horrible price.

And it now falls upon Rebekkah, as her grandmother's designated heir, to fulfill the unique role that the Barrow woman play in this deal, the details of which we will discover as she does. She also discovers that this deal may have played a role, many years ago, in events that may have resulted in the death of her beloved stepsister and destroyed Rebekkah's budding relationship with young Bryon Montgomery, the son of the town undertaker. But fear not, because it seems that Bryon is back in town too, and that he, as did his father before him, with have his own unique and vital role to place in the future of Claysville.

It seems that the author, Marr, is the very successful author of a number of YA books, including the Wicked Lovely books, but I am not familiar with them or any of her other books. So in this, her first book for an adult audience, I was not quite sure what to expect. Happily, I was pleasantly surprised. I know that it might not appear to be my regular type of book, but as a great fan of the books of Dean Koontz, I have always enjoyed a bit of horror, a dab of the supernatural. And there is a good bit of the supernatural here, including some Undead and a few trips to the Other Side, where some of the most interesting characters of the book reside. Which is perhaps one small flaw of the book, because those no longer 'with us' are more interesting than the main characters of Rebekkah and Bryon and their slightly predictable relationship. But I will take my good characters where I can find them, even if they might be dead.

Also there is an issue with the 'mystery' of the story, of who is behind what is going on. I will admit that I did not really figure that out beforehand, but in retrospect it does seem rather obvious. As a plus, and a pretty strong plus, I think the reason I did not figure it out is that, especially as the pace of the story picks up after a bit of a slow beginning, I was caught up in what was a very well written and interesting story and was not that interested in trying to figure it out but was happy to just be along for a fun and enteraining and rather creepy ride.

So, if you are a fan of the horror genre, and just up for a nice does of the Undead, I thing this is one you will like.


  1. I was curious about this one. Maybe I'll read my copy for the October RIP Challenge. Nice review.

  2. I've also wondered how this author would do moving from YA books to adult. Good to hear that the story is one that carries the reader along. I'll keep this one in mind.

  3. You make it sound so interesting although this is not the type of book I would naturally gravitate to. Maybe for some pre-halloween reading.

  4. I'm not really a fan of horror, so I'm not sure this one's for me.

  5. I think I have every Dean Koontz book written up until maybe ten years ago, when I started to expand my horizons (same goes with Uncle Stevie). I read Whispers, which I think is his most horrifying, first in high school. Anyway, I'm right there with you on this one. Sounds good, and I know people who absolutely loved Wicked Lovely.

  6. I'm interested in trying this one. But I like Kaye's idea to save it for Halloween!

  7. I am so, so glad you reviewed this! I've been seeing it at bookstores, so good to know it's worth it.:) agreed about Halloween... This sounds perfect.

  8. Sounds like a pleasant little read. : )


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