Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Grave Memory by Kalayna Price
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The good, and it's mostly good: There's a lot going on, several layers of story all at once with the main mystery, Alex's issue with the Winter Queen and having to choose a fairie court plus the games the Queen is playing with Falin, Death and the other collectors and the questions about why they're keeping him away from her, the questions of Alex's humanity or fae nature and whatever is going on with her father and his long game, but it actually all works for me. I have a terrible memory but I didn't have any trouble remembering what was happening in the story, I never felt lost or overwhelmed or frustrated because I couldn't remember something from the last book. It all played out in a way that pulled it together and reminded me without being heavy-handed. It may be a bit messy, but life isn't neat either, things don't just unfold in nice easy steps, one-two-three. I liked the way the pieces of the puzzles fit together and interwove. It all fit and fascinated for me. And boy is her dad some piece of work, trying to figure out his game may be the most intriguing part of the series.
The supporting characters add a lot of depth to the series. She has long-term and loving relationships with her girlfriends Holly, Tamara, and her partner Rianna. And Roy the ghost who wants so badly to be a partner as well. And Caleb the much put-upon fae landlord. And Mrs. B., can't forget her, doesn't everyone really want a brownie? There wasn't enough PC in this one, but we all know I'm a sucker for dogs. The barghest appeared several times at least, though there wasn't really enough of him either, but he's more of Rianna's supporting character than Alex's. Briar was a good new character. Annoying and a bit frightening, but good.
The bad: the only thing that I felt was a little weak again was the romance, and it wasn't terrible, just predictable. The angsty love triangle thing is so overdone. Falin is the typical tortured fae knight, nothing special about him. And Death is charming, but mostly absent. They're both hot, but I've seen it all before. Alex is constantly tortured about them, nothing is ever either of their faults, they're both perfect, and they're both mostly absent in the author's attempt to stretch the triangle out over the series. And I'm much more interested in the mystery, the other characters, the fae world and the layers of the magical worlds that were being revealed than the juvenile (all of their first real) romances between two old guys and the young woman. Everything else was creative but that was just too typical.
Plus it really bugs me that Alex never thinks about the other guy when she's with each guy, she never worries about being torn between the two of them or feels guilty about caring for both of them, or like she's betraying the other guy. Sure, there's certainly no commitment in any way between Alex and either of the men, but she should know that they'd be hurt anyway and it should cross her mind and she should at least think about how it's possible she could have such strong feelings for two different guys. If she's going to be in love with two guys then she should think about that, but it's just swept under the table and ignored, except for the occasional mention of their jealousy of each other. The whole romance aspect of the story was basically fine, but I wish urban fantasy publishers and authors would stop pushing love triangles, it makes the heroine look so fickle.
The only other bad thing is that it always bugs me a bit when the heroine is the only person in the world with the powers she has. I just get that irritated, "what makes you so special?" feeling. She isn't just a powerful grave witch, she's a planeweaver and who knows what else, it seems like a little much. There is some indication here that things are going on with the story with her dad that will explain things more, so I'm reigning in my irritation on that, but we'll see how it plays out.
And seriously, Laurell Hamilton has ruined sex scenes for every author, no one should ever use the phrase, "I came screaming," ever again. Please. I just can't see it without cringing.
So, in case it isn't obvious, overall I liked the book a lot and I think the author is getting even better at storytelling as she gets more books under her belt. I'm looking forward to seeing how things unfold as this series continues.
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