Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Fiction, possible urban fantasy
Pages: Hardback, 324
Opening Lines: "Maylene put one hand atop the stone for support; pulling herself up from the soil got harder every year. Her knees had been problem enough, but of late the arthritis had started settling in her hips."
"Three sips to mind the dead . . . Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah had watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words 'Sleep well, and stay where I put you.'
"Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in 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, a.k.a. Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker -- in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past -- can set things right once the dead being to walk.
"Although she is still grieving Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to it Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility -- to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong."~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: Admittedly, I was a little wary of this book. The concept was really, really intriguing, so I couldn't stop myself from picking it up. However, after reading the first two books in Marr's other series, I was really concerned that this book would end up just as poorly written, badly paced, etc. Surprisingly, I was wrong!
From the opening of this book, I was caught. But I'll start with the bad nonetheless. First, I am beginning to wonder where publishing companies are picking up their editors. I cannot even begin to explain my frustration when Rebekkah was spelled differently in the same paragraph! That shouldn't have skipped an editor's attention. Throughout the book, there were a number of editing mistakes. To me, it really distracts from the book. Also, she would mention several things that were quite interesting, but never really flesh them out or go into them in depth. I wonder if she is planning to use them in another book . . . Further, she did not spend enough time talking about the unwritten contract and everything surrounding that. It is such in integral part of the story, I felt something was missing. With Daisha, I wondered about her change in the last part of the book. I wish that was explained a little more. Plus, a little more resistance/conflict would have been nice.
Aside from that, I loved the book! Marr did a good job fleshing out Rebekkah and Byron, and gave the secondary characters enough depth to keep them from being flat. I really liked that she used drinking with Mr. D as a big deal. I was reminded of Persephone when she was brought to Hades. The existence of a long standing unwritten contract between Mr. D and the town founders created an awesome back story.
I like how the story ultimately ended, but I'm not sure how I feel about the culprit. It made a certain amount of sense; however, part of be didn't want to buy it. All in all, I still enjoyed the story!
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Currently: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Current Pages: 14136