Graveminder – Melissa Marr

Publisher’s Summary:
“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 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, aka 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 begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in 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.”

Graveminder is a promising start to what appears will be a series by Melissa Marr, the author of the very popular Young Adult “Wicked Lovely” series. The story is quite different from what’s out there right now and is a blend of the traditional zombie tale, as well as southern gothic, and various mythologies. Graveminder tells the story of the Barrow women and Montgomery men, who have been tied together for centuries when the town of Claysville made a sinister pact with Mr. D., the ruler of the underworld which lies beneath the town. It is the responsibility of the Barrow women to literally mind the graves of the deceased, and the Montgomery men (Undertakers) to serve as their protectors. When Bek’s grandmother Maylene is brutally murdered, the legacy is passed down to her. I think the plot is the real strength in this novel and will cpativate readers. The description of the Underworld and it’s inhabitants is incredible, and Mr. D. is quite a puzzle. At the end of the book I still didn’t really know what to make of him. The other characters are a little one dimensional, especially the villain, but still remain interesting enough that I look forward to reading the next book. Graveminder is a quick, exciting read and perfect for the summer!

Reviewed by Kim

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