Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GRAVE WITCH by Kalayna Price


Kalayna Price's novel Grave Witch was an unexpected surprise.  I'm not going to lie.  When I first spotted the book, I wasn't expecting much.  The cover--though appropriately witchy with its cemetery setting and gray-hued heroine--didn't really thrill me.  I've read too many urban fantasies, seen too many kick a** female leads holding knives, swords, semi-automatics, demon/ghost/paranormal decimating what-have-yous that the cover just didn't sell me.

What sold me was the back cover summary.  It was the following sentence about the MC, Alex Craft: "But even though she's on good terms with Death himself--who happens to look good in a pair of jeans--nothing has prepared her for her latest case."  I was smiling instantly.  When a book can do that with just the summary, there's a good chance I'll buy.  The first page sealed the deal.  I just had to have this book.

The characters got me right away.  Alex Craft (and really I wanted to hate her just because of that silly name.  I mean, Craft = Witch; come on authors, you can do better than that) was a great character.  Even with the name.  She was unapologetic about turning her talent for talking to the dead into a business, reminiscent of Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly.  Harper being one of my favorite series/heroines ever, it was as good a recommendation for Alex as any.  Like Harris, Price did a fantastic job of making Alex tough yet vulnerable.  After using her powers, she goes blind for a time afterward, flooded by the chill of allowing death so close to her.

And that brings me to my favorite part of the book.  Death--the man not the act--was what kept me turning the pages.  There was a particular scene, my favorite, in which Alex and Death are drinking coffee (I know it sounds humorous, but trust me.  It wasn't) which set the tone for their entire relationship in my mind.  Impossible and forbidden with an undeniable passion simmering just beneath the surface.

I think by book's end I was supposed to be all aboard the Falin Andrews train, but I can honestly say that I was torn.  I still loved Death.  I think he's the definite dark horse in the series to win Alex's affections.  When there's a love triangle, I always seem to go for the character that's obviously not going to end up with the girl.  I guess I just always pull for the underdog.  But Falin grew on me throughout the book, especially what was revealed in the end.  It made him a little more tortured--and Lord knows, I love a little torture in my male leads J  But no I'm not going to tell you what it was.  You'll just have to go out and get the book!

While you're reading, I'll be impatiently awaiting Price's second installment.  There is a lesson in this, I think: Never judge a book by its cover or its silly MC name.  If you do, you might miss something.  Ninja Girl out!

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