Graveminder by Marr

graveminderRebekkah Barrow’s grandmother, Maylene, was the Graveminder. Exactly what that meant, Rebekkah never knew, but through most of her youth, she followed Maylene to every funeral and watched as Maylene performed a strange ritual with food and drink. Now Maylene is dead, and Rebekkah has returned to Claysville for the funeral. But unbeknownst to Rebekkah, she’s been chosen to take over the role of Graveminder, which means she has quite a task before her. Starting with finding out who murdered Maylene.

by Melissa Marr
William Morrow Paperbacks
January 17, 2012

This book hovers somewhere between love story and supernatural thriller, but can never seem to decide which it wants to be. As a result, it has trouble committing to either, and the story flounders a bit in the process.

On the one hand, we have Rebekkah and Bryon, an on-again, off-again couple. Byron is in love with Rebekkah, but Rebekkah apparently likes to randomly desert Byron every time they start getting serious. (As in Byron wakes up to find Rebekkah is gone and has moved half away across the country.)

On the other hand, we have undead spirits/zombies wandering around and eating people, and an entire town that is under a sort of magical oath that prevents them from even talking about it.

Where the problem comes in is that neither side is given a chance to truly develop. The magical aspects of the story are heavily downplayed through the majority of the book. Instead we focus on Rebekkah and Byron, and are given several flashbacks through their lives. Unfortunately, the history of their relationships doesn’t paint Rebekkah in a very positive light, and she comes off as flighty and downright cruel as we watch her abandon Byron again and again.

Then two-thirds through the book, the magic comes back full force, and we’re suddenly spending entire chapters in the land of the dead. It’s a bit like reading Romeo and Juliet, and then halfway through it switches to Night of the Living Dead.

Perhaps if the book has been longer, it would have had a chance to delve deeper into both of its aspects. But as it is, I finished the book with more questions than answers.

Matthew Scott is the Dark Fantasy & Horror Editor of who describes himself as just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.