Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1)

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.


  1. I saw this book around, but for some reason I never checked it out. Your review has me convinced that I really should.
    The world-building seems truly fantastic and I have a feeling that I will adore the main character.
    Honestly, you make this whole book seem fascinating !
    *Off to add the book to my to-read list :)
    Lovely and very convincing review, Maja !

  2. Like Nick, I've never really had an interest in this book until reading your review! :) It sounds like a great read and I do love books that border on the creepy side. You have convinced me to check this one out. Amazing review, Maja!

  3. Oh this book sounds awesome! I'd never even heard about it before your review! You know me I'm not an urban fantasy kind of girl, I only read a few here or there, but this sounds like one that I would really like! And of course I need to meet this John Devlin ;) Fab review my love!

  4. Ahhh, I've had this book on my list just based on the synopsis, but now that I've read your review...I'm definitely going to have to hit up the library. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. AAAH! Maja, you're beating me to EVERYTHING! Lol. But I do have this one on my e-reader...I'm just swamped in other readings at the moment. Glad to know that picking it up when it was deeply discounted was a good move on my part!

  6. Sometimes the line between PNR and UF gets a little bit blurred I think (like in the Fever series, for example). I guess like you I'd rather read UF with a PNR flavor than PNR with a UF flavor. :) It's so cute that you love the southern drawl so much. If you ever come to America I'll drive you down South and we'll go a-gallivantin'.

  7. Hold up girlfriend, I recommended this series to you back in March and even told you to download the free prequel! I am trying to find time to read the Prophet. This is a great series, dark and creepy and I am totally fascinated by the whole graveyard restoration thing. Book two is even better, despite the fact that Devlin is not in it. Wait until you meet Angus, he stole my heart. this is not a paranormal romance... no way!

    1. Ooops, my bad, Heidi! I'm sorry. It's so hard to keep up with everything. Perhaps, if you wait a while, we can read The Prophet together or something.

    2. That would be fun...I have a copy let me know when you are ready. I really am enjoying this series!

  8. Ooh this sounds like a good one. That's awesome when you find a book you just DEVOUR. If I check this one out, I'll be sure to read it in the daylight. ;-)


  9. Even the cover is beautiful and chilling! Love it! What a great review, Maja! This southern girl will definitely have to give this one a read. Made my day to hear that you are fascinated with our little ol' accent. Thank you, dahhling! ;D

  10. Oh my gosh, I don't know how long it's been since I've read an awesomely creepy ghost book like this, but if I can't remember, then it must've been too long ago -- so YAY for how amazing this sounds! I'm actually really glad that this one is written in first person; I'm starting to be short with third person books that over-explain everything now LOL. It's just so much easier to connect with a protagonist in first! x)

    Beaaaaaaautiful review, Maja! Find a bright and sunny place to read this fantastic creep-tastic book? Will do! I CAN'T WAIT :) <3

  11. I haven't heard of this book/author so I am really happy you read & reviewed it, I have so many books on my list that you love, I just hope I can read some of them soon.

    I really like that you made the distinction btw urban fantasy and paranormal romance, I think I often think of them as the same and they're really not.

  12. YAY, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. This series is a hidden gem and I think it gets better with every book. You're right John isn't in book 2 but we do get some major background info on Amelia which I loved. Book 3 is my favorite for sure. Lots of John in that one!

  13. I don't think I've heard of this book but it sounds awesome! I should add this book to my TBR!

    Awesome review, Maja! <3 Glad you enjoyed it!

    PS: Sorry I haven't been commenting on your blog lately! :(

  14. Oh, this book sounds absolutely fabulous! I think I would enjoy reading Amelia's story. I LOVE first person POV, and that alone makes me wanting to read this book. <3 Hehe, you're very cute, Maja - I also adore Urban Fantasy because of the worldbuilding, not because of the romance! Too much romance ruins a beautiful story. :P

    Absolutely fantastic review like always lovely! <3

  15. What? You get allergic reactions to paranormal romances? Noooo! If that happened to me, I would suffer through the pain just to keep reading them. LOL

    Amazing review. I'm drawn the the Southern drawl too, so I'll have to check this one out.

  16. The cover alone kind of gives me the shivers! I'm really wanting to check this out for the creep factor. However, I'll remember to keep the lights on.

  17. Awesome review Maja. This sounds really good and creepy even though you say it's short on romance. It must be good if you read it in one sitting. :)

  18. I hate when I get behind on commenting and then I come over and see how much I've missed and then I'm reminded how long it has been since we talked. Ugh. I'm really happy this isn't PNR--I've gotten really tired of that, I think because I read so much of it after college. (almost that exclusively for a year or two) But this sounds cool. Southern accents!

  19. This one was in my radar. It's the whole graveyard thing, I can't help it. Knowing that it comes recommended by Ann Aguirre is a massive possitive point... But honestly, your review is a bigger one. I mean, there are few books you've been so passionate about, and those you have, I can't help but agree so... I'm definitely ordering.

    I just hope the romance works... I'm such a sucker for romance =)


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.