26 March 2014

Graveminder - Melissa Marr

Rebekkah Barrow didn't ever plan to come back to Claysville, but then again, neither did Byron Montgomery, and yet the town has called both of them back for a very specific purpose.

Maylene Barrow is dead, murdered by a girl who should have been in the ground; dead, buried and minded. The mystery, however, runs even deeper than that, and even though Rebekkah is grieving, she soon finds that there are more pressing matters to deal with. She is forced to come to terms with the death that haunts her to this day, to her own faults, and to her new identity as the Graveminder; a job she never knew existed.

Graveminder is a brilliant, slightly romantic take on the old classic horror of a zombie, but this time it has been taken and twisted into a tiny microcosm, where everything relies on two people, our protagonists. Clare has created a tiny world, complete with various subplots that tie in superbly at the end. The entire plot has layers on top of layers, which peel slowly back throughout the book to reveal more about the job of the Graveminder, how it came to be and why it has been given to Rebekkah.

This is very much a dual-protagonist book (if that's even the right way of saying it.. but you get the jist, right?). The Graveminder is nothing without her Undertaker, and so we see the emotional journey of both Byron and Rebekkah in this book in equal measure. This is great as we get a much clearer picture of what exactly is going on, given that we can switch to the view of both of these characters, instead of having to be told it as in a singularly first-person narrative.

The only issue with this book was the romance. For some, this is a really nice touch and people tend to appreciate the main characters having some kind of romantic entanglement, especially in a book that is aimed at teenagers. However, for me the romance didn't completely work. Rebekkah's feelings didn't quite ring true nearer the end of the book, and Byron's constant talking over the same things bored me to tears, the same way Rebekkah's tendency not to address any aspect of reality did. However, I can't say that I've been in her situation, so it really isn't my place to say what any normal person would have done in her place.

In the end, the story came to a very good conclusion, and I fully enjoyed the mystery in the story, which was hinted at, and I never really guessed right until half a page before I was told. Perfect timing. A quick, exciting and fairly powerful read that really gets you to think about the afterlife, but not in a bad way.

8 out of ten.