I’m a huge fan of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, so I was equally excited to read her new adult novel, Graveminder. Sadly, after reading it, I can’t say I’m still excited.
The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them.
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.
Graveminder was a fabulous story, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t as good as the Wicked Lovely series. The story starts out a little slow, and with the introduction of too many characters, it never really catches a lot of steam. I wouldn’t call it info-dumping, but there was a lot of set up and without knowing if this is the start to a new series, I’m not sure how necessary some of the scenes were. The mystery of the graveminder was vague enough at the beginning that I wasn’t entirely sure what her purpose was. I get the idea of what she should be, but her role within the story wasn’t really defined until much later.
I think the problem I had with Graveminder was that most of the action, aka the conflict, really didn’t begin until half way through the novel. Once that did, it was a little more interesting, but it was too late for me. The beginning really had a lot of scene changes involving characters that we don’t see in the second half of Graveminder. So by the time the action started, my interest had already started to wander to other things.
Aside from the slow moving plot, the characters were definitely well developed and interesting to read. I especially liked the back stories that Mr. D (aka Charlie) and Alicia have, and I wouldn’t mind hearing more about their story. Bek and Bryan have an interesting chemistry. They definitely have a history and while we do get a sense of what it is, there was some obvious tension going on in the beginning that we’re only given hints of. As for the villain, I’m not happy with the villain. All the clues point to a certain person being the villain, but in the end, while that person does have a major role, she’s not the one Bek needs to fear. And even that isn’t really accurate. Never once did Bek get any feeling of fear of the villain. She just accepted it and tried to go about making it right.
Overall, Graveminder was a good story, but it starts off slow and never really picks up. It wasn’t really able to keep my attention. At first I thought it was my mood, but I was able to pick up a couple of different novels and finish them during the time I read Graveminder. The chemistry between Bek and Byron could have been a little more explosive, or at least included more tension than the subtle undertones, and the plot definitely needed to have a little more action. Seriously, Wicked Lovely had more action than Graveminder. Melissa Marr still weaves a good story, but this one just doesn’t have the same impact that her Wicked Lovely series has. At least not for me.