Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."My Thoughts: Whoa. What a gorgeous, creepy, utterly fascinating world Melissa Marr has created with this book. I literally couldn't put it down until I found out how the events were going to play out.
Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid 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--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.
There's more to this book than just the world, though. The characters are vibrant and their emotions come across the pages brilliantly. Bek's grief over losing her grandmother was sharp and real. Her guilt over her feelings for Byron, guilt that she's carried with her since a family tragedy, is wrenching and she does her best to run from it so she doesn't have to deal. On top of all this she's suddenly faced with a world that she never knew existed and which has great potential to turn deadly. Byron is her rock, her protector, her best friend despite the distance she tries to put between them. His presence both soothes her and riles all the emotions she's tried to suppress. Their relationship spans years and heartache and yet when the chips are down they seek each other out as they attempt to come to grips with the sudden upheaval in their lives.
Melissa Marr's take on those that rise from their graves is different and sadly poignant. The hunger that gnaws at these individuals drives them and keeps them from their rest. The Graveminder's need to protect them and give them peace is at odds with how most others see them as animals to be put down.
Beyond the story here, though, there's so very much potential in this world. There are so many aspects of it that feel like they're waiting to be fleshed out and given form. Bek and Byron have a deep, dark world to explore and it feels like they've barely scratched the surface.
Equal parts horror novel and an wrenching look at dealing with death- from both a supernatural and emotional standpoint- this book is one that lingers long after you've put it down.
More books by Melissa Marr
reading challenges: The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The Zombies! Challenge