Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price ★★★★

Grave Memory by Kalayna Price
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Alex Craft #3
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
ISBN: 978-0451464590
Page Count: 384
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Own purchase

When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen...
As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.
But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…


REVIEW


So good to be back with Alex and crew.

This is book three in a series that's gradually becoming a top favourite of mine. What makes it a favourite? Well, you've got the imaginative world-building, the diverse cast of characters of all ages and from all walks of life, the new spin on the Fae race, the interesting take on witch magic, including its harsh drawbacks, and all the inter-layered plains of existence and creatures that live in them. And also the potential love interest characters are none too shabby either.

Now, I know a lot of people hate love triangles with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but this one I feel is more than worth while getting involved in. Because you've basically been given two good (mostly) men, both of whom love Alex and who I like to think she loves in return in slightly differing ways, and then Price has just complicated the ever living hell out of it, making each potential pairing seemingly impossible for one reason or another. It's very interesting and I'm completely torn over how I feel about each of them. I was pleased, therefore, that this book had a little more time devoted to Death and the Collectors, to try and balance out my opinion since Falin was hogging the limelight for most of the first two books.

It's really hard to watch what's happening with Falin at the moment. He's tied through compulsions to the Winter Queen (can you say bitch in a tiara?), who, despite her animosity towards Alex, wants her to join her Court. The way she's been trying to "gently persuade" Alex to her side has been to dangle the prospect of being with Falin in her face.... by sending him to raid her house every couple of weeks on bogus charges and searches as part of his F.I.B job. Just to torment her with the fact that she can see him, talk to him, but he's been compelled to only have contact with her in an official capacity. No small talk, no niceties. It's painful for Alex and more than a little cruel of the Winter Queen. I'm dying to see what else she has up her sleeve after what happened in the final pages.

Death, as I mentioned before, gets more time to shine in this instalment. I enjoyed learning even more about the Collectors and Death himself. He's so yummy. I really struggle to find fault with him. I guess his main fault is that he's unattainable.

Alex is having a slightly hard time of things. Her friend John seems to be giving her the cold shoulder, she can't seem to do right for doing wrong in the investigation currently ongoing, and her love life is a disaster. Still, she's trying to make the best of things and is thrilled to have her childhood friend Rhianna back in her life. They've decided to do something they planned as kids together; open a P. I. firm called 'Tongues for the dead.'

I enjoyed the plot surrounding the 'Rider' once it got going. Unfortunately that seemed to take quite  while. Also, there was not much sign of either Falin or Death in the first half so I found it a little slow going. It did have plenty of recaps in the opening chapters for anyone who, like me, has forgotten a lot of the details since the last book. I was worried at first that I'd forgotten too much as I couldn't even remember the names of her house mates, but it all came back to me with the gentle re-introductions provided. By which I mean, we were given just enough info to jog the old memory box, but not pages and pages of charatcer bios copied and pasted from past books (take note, Estep!).

All in all a great instalment, definitely one for the Death fans, and a great progression of the series.

4 Stars ★★★★

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