Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review - The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen, Book 1) by Amanda Stevens (5/5 stars)

The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen) Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: April 19, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0778329817
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Graveyard Queen series
Source: eGalley from
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got an eGalley of this book through netgalley(dot)com.  I was drawn to it by the haunting cover and the interesting synopsis. I absolutely loved this book.  I loved the beautiful writing style, the engaging mystery, the wonderful characters, and the supernatural overtones to the story.  My understanding is that this is the first book in a trilogy: Book 2 will be titled The Kingdom and is scheduled for a Nov 2011 release and book 3 will be titled The Prophet and is scheduled for a May 2012 release.  There is also supposed to be a prequel story called "The Abandoned" which I plan on downloading soon.

Amelia restores graveyards for a living and was brought up by her father who was a Graveyard keeper.  The only twist is; Amelia can actually see ghosts.  Amelia has lived her life by a strict set of rules to prevent the ghosts from taking over her life.  All those rules fly out the window during her current graveyard restoration.  Amelia is restoring Oak Park Cemetery when a body is found on site; a fresh one.  This brings Officer Devlin into Amelia's life.  Devlin is mysterious and always accompanied by two mysterious ghosts.  As Amelia is asked to act as a consultant for the investigation she is drawn deep into the politics and secrets that surround both the town and the graveyard.

I loved this book.  The writing is full of beautiful description and is so lyrical; it was easy to read and created such beautiful imagery.  There is a Southern Gothic feel to the story that gives it a unique and endearing flavor. 

The characters were also wonderful.  Amelia is a pretty down to earth girl, but she has rules she needs to follow and a sense of honor about her work.  Devlin is a wonderfully brooding male lead and is shrouded in mystery that really keeps the reader wanting to know more.  All of the characters in this book are interesting and well-fleshed out.

The mystery is masterfully woven.  Details are slowly revealed and, as the mystery deepens, Amelia finds herself in more and more danger.  I love how this plot was put together and how it unfolded.  I loved how every clicked together so nicely in the end.

I wasn't sure if reading about a character who restores graveyards would be interesting but it really was.  You can tell that Stevens did a lot of research on graveyard restoration and I enjoyed learning about what various symbolism meant on the gravestones and also learning about restoration techniques.

The main story thread is wrapped up neatly but some mysteries are left to be dealt with in the next book.  This is my favorite kind of series: I love it when each book has its own story to tell but you also have a greater mystery that spans multiple books.

Overall I absolutely loved this book.  I read it straight through, it was very hard to put down.  I loved the beautiful descriptions and writing, the heartfelt and mysterious characters, and the masterful way the plot was woven together.  I just pretty much loved everything about this book and cannot wait to read the next one in this series. 

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen) 

1 comment:

  1. I can say with full honesty that while reading this, icy tentacles of fear and excitement ran up and down my body. My gut clenched and my heart pounded. The Restorer is one of the most eerie, haunting books I've read in a long time. Every creak of my house settling had me jumping. I left the lights on while reading. Yes, I even looked over my shoulder to make sure no one stood behind me.