by Melissa Marr
Sleep well, and stay where I put you.
After the violent death of her grandmother Maylene, Rebekkah Barrow returns to the small town of Claysville for the funeral. Rebekkah - “Beks” to her friends – knew that her grandmother had little rites that she performed for the dead, pouring whiskey on fresh graves and that sort of thing, but she soon learns that these rituals served a darker purpose: if the dead are not cared for, they will return from the grave. Now that Maylene is gone, the task of the Graveminder has fallen to Rebekkah. Assisting her in the new role is the Undertaker, Byron, a friend and lover from Rebekkah's past. During this transitional period, as Byron and Rebekkah learn their new roles, an evil has been unleashed, and they'll have to work quickly to seal it up once more.
Graveminder is one of those books that I wanted to love because the concept was so interesting, but didn't. First, the good. Melissa Marr does an excellent job building the dark, creepy atmosphere. It's almost as if every scene has a shadow cast over it, muting any potential levity and creating an aura of menace. The town of Claysville, on the surface, seems so wholesome and innocent: it's a safe place where people live healthy, uneventful lives. But the price of this safety is the creation of Graveminder and Undertaker, and the evil forces they must keep tamped down at all times. It's a perfectly promising premise for a horror novel.
But then we have the characters. Rebekkah has got to be one of the most singularly annoying women on the planet. She and Byron have had an on-again, off-again relationship for years, and the tête-à-tête between the two of them is unbearable. Every time he starts to get close she pushes him away with “OMG I can't do relationships right now” and runs away. Byron, not the brightest bulb, constantly comes back to her instead of finding a non-crazy woman to settle down with. There was also a LOT of rehash in this book, as characters catch each other up on previous events and have the same conversations over and over again. It seems like every few chapters we're getting a variation of the following conversation:
Byron: We need to talk about us/the past/our feelings.
Rebekkah: No, I can't do that. YOU KNOW I CAN'T DISCUSS THIS. What's for dinner?
Byron: I'm so sick of this!
Rebekkah: Gawd, this again. I'm leaving.
**ten seconds later**
Rebekkah: Oh Byron, I'm so scared to spend the night alone. Since we're completely platonic childhood friends, will you spend the night?
If the main characters weren't so angsty, I'm not sure this endless cycle of repetition would have stood out so much. But as things are, it really slowed the book down and made it difficult for me to finish.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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