November 8, 2011

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

I haven't read any of Marr's other books, but apparently she's rather well known for her young adult "Wicked Lovely" series. 

"Graveminder" is about Rebekkah Barrow, who returns to her hometown of Claysville after the murder of her grandmother.  Bek grew up helping her grandmother tend graves and watching as she performed an odd ritual at funerals, complete with the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."  It turns out that these words have special meaning in Claysville as the dead in this town are somehow connected to the living.  Rebekkah must learn to fill the role that her grandmother left behind, complete with the help of the current undertaker and her long-ago childhood love, Bryon. 

This book was good but not great.  I loved the setting and the world-building.  The description of the town and the land of the dead were vivid and well done, especially contrasting the way that Bek and Byron viewed them.  I liked Daisha's parts too--Marr did a good job of making you care about a character that would be easy to hate.

Overall, the characterization left something to be desired.  I felt as if some of the minor characters like Amity or Bek's cousins had a lot of potential to be more interesting, but were rushed.  The love story between Byron and Bek left a lot to be desired--it seemed as if there was never any true conflict besides Rebekkah being melodramatic.  Plus any scene with Charlie/Mr. D (who really ought to be the most interesting character in the book!) was just kind of slow and didn't tie into the rest of the book very well.

Three and a half stars

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1 comment:

  1. GRAVEMINDER is Melissa Marr's first novel for adult readers, although Melissa Marr hates labeling her books like that. In an interview, she states: "I don't write for an audience; I write for my characters. The publishers and agents decide on the audience." Maybe it's best to say that Melissa Marr writes fantastic books, period. There's an almost claustrophobic gothic element to this story. A caveat of the centuries-old contract is that most of the natives of Claysville cannot leave the town. Those who depart are compelled to return. When she was a girl, Rebekkah Barrow moved to Claysville to become part of the Barrow family. For years she accompanied her grandmother, Maylene Barrow, as she traipsed around town, visiting graveyards, minding the dead. Rebekkah had no clue she was being groomed as her grandmother's eventual replacement.

    Except that Rebekkah, haunted by a tragic loss, skittish on commitment and plagued with restlessness, left Claysville. It would take a decade and the gruesome slaughter of her grandmother for her to return. In Claysville, old wounds greet her, as do estranged friends, and an unexpected calling, and a murderous unquiet spirit.


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