Thursday, August 23, 2012

Addictive Reads Part II: The Graveyard Queen

by Kathy F.

An addictive read doesn't have to be perfect. There, I said it. I admit that if I hear a book discussed as "literary" I get a little twitchy and it generally stays on my maybe list. However, if a friend mentions a fun book that they devoured in an evening, you bet I'm there. This isn't to say that "literary" books aren't good, nor are addictive books inferior, its just that books are my entertainment, and fun is an important part of the equation for this reader.

On Tuesday I talked about Lilith Saintcrow's latest, but today belongs to Amanda Stevens Graveyard Queen series. I've heard many people refer to this series as crack and I have to agree: once you start reading it is hard to stop.

Stevens' series is a Southern Gothic starring Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who can also see ghosts. However, the ghosts in Amelia's world stick around to leech the life out of unsuspecting humans, craving any bit of humanity they can steal. If they knew Amelia could see them, they would flock to her, and once a ghost starts haunting you, you can't make it go away. Or at least that's what Amelia's father conditioned her to believe. Let's just say that Papa Gray left out a few details.

So far I've read The Restorer, The Kingdom and the prequel novella The Abandoned. The Prophet is out and I need to get my hands on it. The novella is all right, but I read it after I read The Restorer and I think that was a good call. It does give you a different perspective on ghosts, one that I'm sure will continue to unfold as the series progresses, but Amelia has just a bit part. Perhaps we'll see those characters again later in the series.

Why do I love it? The tense atmosphere, ghosts that suck the life out of you, murder, mystery, a secret society, it's all yummy good stuff. There is some romance. Amelia seems fond of the haunted, broody, guy-with-a-strong-toned-chest type. The problem is, when Amelia gives into the sexual tension her powers get a little out of control and she starts feeling possessed. When her main squeeze is also haunted by the ghosts of his wife and child, this makes the romance complicated and totally contrary to Papa Gray's rules for surviving among the dead.

I will be honest, there's been more than one time that I've wanted to sit Amelia down and tell her to just pick some hallowed ground (cause ghosts stay away from it) and scratch that itch. To do something since she's just making herself miserable and even more lonely. For all of the angsty moments though, I do like that Stevens has not gone the traditional romance route.

The Restorer starts Amelia on a quest to learn more about who and what she is. The Kingdom gives her some answers as well as ups the ghostly danger. All the while, there are murders to solve and secrets to unearth. I have a feeling her human opponents will be increasingly dangerous as well.

Amelia also does not kick ass (I KNOW - yet here I am still liking it), but she is smart and lonely and I really want everything to work out for her. Just not too soon. I want to stay on this ride for at least a bit longer.

How about you? What are some of your addictive reads?
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