Note: Following the review, we’re giving away two hardback copies of Melissa Marr’s Graveminder. One more reason to read to the end, no?
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
There is something to be said for a purposeful slow build, and Melissa Marr does it masterfully in Graveminder.
The small town of Claysville has special rules and almost all of them involve the dead. Everyone born in Claysville is required to be buried within the city. No one is to be embalmed and must be interred within 48 hours of death. And one woman, Maylene Barrow, attends every funeral. She’s the last to leave the graveyard, always whispering and pouring drink over the fresh grave.
But that’s not the only thing different about Claysville. The citizens have accepted they can’t ever leave. Those born within its limits who attempt to move elsewhere will fall ill, and even those who only lived in the town for a short time are stricken with a wanderlust that leaves them never feeling at home anywhere but Claysville. Rebekkah falls into that latter category. She’s always run from commitment. She ran from the boy she loved back in Claysville, she ran from her crazy mom and each new city still doesn’t feel right. When her grandmother Maylene dies, she has to rush back to Claysville. The moment she crosses the town border, she feels home. And she doesn’t like it.
To make matters more complicated, Byron is back, too. She ran from him years ago, but as one of the undertakers, he’s there to help her though it all. Plus, he’s still in love with her. She wants to run, but being near him makes the whole ordeal of her grandmother’s death more manageable. Unfortunately with Maylene gone, there is no one to mind the graves in Claysville. Rebekkah knows the basics without realizing it’s to keep the dead in the ground, but no one told her she was tapped as the new Graveminder. They didn’t tell her it’s now her job to make sure the dead stay that way, and to lead the Hungry Dead to the land of the dead.
And no one told Byron it was his job to protect her, to save her. He just did it on instinct. Quickly these two try to learn their new roles, but with everyone else forbidden from knowing the details of the pact that keeps Claysville free of disease and death, they’re on their own.
And that’s what makes the slow build work in Graveminder. We know a bit more about what’s going on in Claysville than either Byron or Rebekkah do, because we get peeks into other points-of-view. However, for the most part, we’re learning along with them. We’re along for the journey as they stumble onto the reasons why the dead rise, why people are tied to the town and just how the Graveminder and Undertaker are expected to interact with the dead. Additionally, the two main characters are struggling with their feelings for one another, which can only become more complicated as they discover their new role as a team ushering the dead.
Marr created rich characters and a fascinating mythology in Graveminder. There’s a bit of dealing with the past to accept your future happening, and you’ll be happy to watch as Rebekkah and Byron come to accept their roles. (Though, Byron is of the mind his job as always been to protect Rebekkah, now it just includes keeping her from becoming too enamored with the dead.) The novel is a beautiful blend of self-discovery, family drama, light romance and the supernatural.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex
We are lucky to have two hardcover copies of Melissa Marr’s Graveminder to give to Vampire Book Club readers. To enter simply leave a comment on this post, letting me know you’d like to read Graveminder. (Please note while Marr’s Wicked Lovely series is for young adults, Graveminder is an adult novel.) Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only and ends on July 18.
CONTEST DETAILS AND RULES
1. To enter, you must leave a comment on this post.
2. You do not need to follow Vampire Book Club to be entered, but we sure do like it.
3. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
4. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, July 18.
5. The winners will be selected using Random.org. Then each will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to claim prizes. If we do not hear from the winner(s) within that time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Though unlikely, Vampire Book Club has the right to change or cancel any giveaway at any time without prior notice.
8. Vampire Book Club is not responsible for prizes lost or damage in transit.
9. Thanks to Harper Collins for providing the books!