Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So beautiful and chilling.
The Restorer was recommended to me by someone I trust implicitly when it comes to books (that someone being my favorite author, Ann Aguirre) so it’s no wonder I didn’t hesitate to pick it up as soon as I found it in my mailbox. My intention was to read a chapter or two to get a feel of the story and then leave it for the night, but I ended up reading it all in one sitting. Let me tell you, reading this book at night, in a dark and silent house wasn’t the smartest move I ever made… but it was definitely exciting.
First and foremost, I need to point out that Amanda Stevens is an excellent writer. She has a tremendous talent for creating the right atmosphere, a very good sense of pacing, and a way to evoke very strong emotions at exactly the right time. Her detailed descriptions never failed to send chills down my spine. Even though The Restorer is marketed as paranormal romance, it is, in fact, urban fantasy in all its glory. For one, it is written in first person and told from a single point of view, whereas paranormal romance is usually told in third person, from alternating POVs. Romance (or lack thereof) makes a big part of the story, but it’s certainly not the main motivator as it always is with PNR. Besides, as someone who gets a strong allergic reaction whenever I come within a hundred yards of a paranormal romance novel, I can tell you with absolute certainty that this is not it. From what I understand, detective John Devlin is not even present in book two, The Kingdom, which I suppose proves my point.
The worldbuilding is fairly simplistic: the presence of ghosts is all that is unusual. Amelia Gray can see them, but she’s learned through life-long instructions by her father, not to acknowledge them in any way. She restores graveyards for a living and is very good at hiding her reactions and emotions from the occasional spirit. One of her father’s rules is never to get involved with someone who is haunted, which is why Amelia is less than thrilled when an obviously haunted (and devastatingly handsome) police detective comes asking for her help.
Amelia is the type of delicate, quiet and restrained heroine that you grow attached to in time. She’s spent her entire life in cemeteries, following strict rules imposed by her father. She has a very lonely way of life and very few personal connections.
John Devlin… *fans self* Amanda Stevens knows how to write a gorgeous and wounded romantic interest that makes you want to murder the heroine and take her place... except, in this case, it would be pretty pointless. The one Devlin wants is already dead.
He said my name then. Just that. Amelia. But in the slow, proper drawl of the Charleston aristocrat, stringing out the syllables with an elegant, imperious cadence that was tinged with decadence, indulgence and the kind of secrets that can only fester in the deepest shadows of the South.
I absolutely adored the Southern setting. Not many urban fantasy books take place in Charleston, and I relished the opportunity to learn about the city through Amelia’s eyes. Amanda Stevens and I share a fascination with Southern accents and the fact that she kept mentioning the famous Southern drawl never failed to make me smile.
I didn’t even wait to finish this book before I ordered book two, The Kingdom, from The Book Depository. I’ll make sure to find a sunny and bright place to read it, though. I bet it will be just as creepy as the first one.