Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”
Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.
(Copied from Goodreads)
When I heard Melissa Marr was writing an adult novel, I was thrilled. I have been a fan of her Wicked Lovely series for quite some time. She is great at world building. She gives the reader just enough to keep them hooked. Her plot twists could make any writer envious. So, I went into this novel with quite high expectations.
While in some ways this novel delivered, in some ways it left me cringing. Let’s hit the good points first.
I absolutely loved the premise of this novel. I have never read anything quite like it. The “Graveminder” is not a new concept. Many religions honor the dead with similar practices. However, the addition of the combined worlds of the living and the dead took on a new twist in this novel. Not only is the “graveminder” tending to the dead, she is a conduit between worlds.
The connection between the Graveminder and the Undertaker was interesting. I enjoyed seeing the push and pull of these two characters. However, it allowed the romance between the two to take over the story.
I also loved the idea of a town “under contract” to some unknown entity. The townsfolk cannot leave, and if they do, they are drawn back almost inexplicably.
Now, the parts I couldn’t grasp. Mr. D makes no sense to me. Perhaps he is the Devil… Hence D. Perhaps he is a demon (again, D). Perhaps he is just a powerful spirit (aka, Death). There were too many unanswered questions surrounding this character. He vys for the Graveminder, why? She has an inexplicable connection to him, why?
The scene that bothered me most and made the least sense was the “dinner” at D’s. It just seemed very random.
“Some mortals–like you–are already half in love with death. It is who you are, and I’ll not make it harder on you by telling you things you don’t need to know. Ask me again when you die. Then I’ll tell you everything, anything, nothing.”
― Melissa Marr,
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr
The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
Fallen – Lauren Kate