Book Review: Kalayna Price’s Grave Memory

Posted January 6, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kalayna Price’s Grave Memory

Grave Memory


Kalayna Price

urban fantasy that was published by ROC on July 3, 2012 and has 373 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Grave Witch, Grave Dance, Kicking It, Grave Visions, Grave Ransom

Third in the Alex Craft urban fantasy series about a grave witch, a woman who can speak with the dead.

My Take

I am really enjoying this series. It’s different from any others I’ve read and as much as I dislike the name of the city, Nekros, it is highly appropriate. Price has a truly ghoulish sense of humor!

Price has created a great cast of characters with lots of conflict, ranging from the loves forbidden to Alex, the weird estrangement between her and her family, the cops’ love-her/hate-her attitude, and the general dislike the humans have for anyone with magic. Then there are the complications Price has created for her primary protagonist, the effects her Gift has on her life and their terrifying complications.

World building-wise, it’s an odd place. Price states that Nekros simply came into exist during the Magical Awakening. Okay, I can buy that, but why is there never any mention of other cities, states, countries? The closest we get to inter-anywhere travel is to Faerie. Has the rest of the world…dropped off the face of the earth?

She refers to her father as the governor. I have to assume he is the governor of Nekros, but why would a city have a governor? Wouldn’t a mayor make more sense? Then again, if he truly is a governor, what does he govern? In the U.S., a governor usually is the head of government for a state. In England, he could be on a school board. But I do get the impression that we’re in America, so, what gives?

Hmmm, Alex’s observation about ghost society — with Roy’s confirmation — is rather creepy! And so very lonely.

Oh, man, I understand Alex’s desire to open her office and couldn’t help laughing about her first client. It’s bad enough that the woman’s anti-fae, and then Price describes how awful the office looks…

I love it! I love it! Bigots are the most amazing hypocrites!! Mrs. Kingly is so anti-fae, so nasty with it, and yet she’ll use a magic charm to help her with a problem.

I was going to whine about why the police couldn’t follow the clues as Alex does, but then I realized…well, duh, the cops think it’s suicide and they won’t open a murder case on it. At least, not until Alex gets a little too caught up it!

I like Alex’s ethics. I do not like Darque’s. As Alex points out — government-sanctioned theft. Just because the bitch wants her spell.

Snicker…”That you base your judgment on rumors?”

Oh, sob, I just love the romance between Death and Alex. They both want each other so much and he’s so sweet about his wanting. Although, I didn’t like Price inserting that bit about Alex questioning why she doesn’t want him along at one point. It made perfect sense why he should stay behind, and it felt as though Price was simply using the opportunity to throw in some very badly thought-out tension. Then there’s the romance between Alex and Falin. Another case of serious, scarred want. Damn, all this beefcake and she can’t touch!

Then there’s the oddity of Mrs. B. She’s expanded so much beyond a brownie’s expected purview. I love finding out what she’s up to. That, and I want her to adopt me!

NO. John is being completely unfair. He knows what Alex is like. Why wouldn’t the cops bring her in. At least keep her in the loop!

The Story

When crimes and how they were solved get hushed up, the cops get suspicious of anyone involved. And Alex is persona non grata with the police after events in Grave Witch and Grave Dance.

There’s one Magical Crimes inspector in particular willing to pin anything on Alex and when the ghouls come to town, well, Alex is perfect for the crime.

You’d think having Briar Darque breathing down her neck would be enough to spoil Alex’s surprise for Rianna, naw. The Winter Queen is upping her harassment to force Alex to choose a Court. Falin has a geas on him to only interact with Alex professionally and then sends the FIB in to harass her and her housemates for anything and everything, no matter how ridiculous. Now Caleb is giving her an ultimatum.

To add to her misery, the soul collectors are preventing Death from seeing her as well as demanding that she leave this case alone. A move that will backfire leaving them both with some horrible choices.

The Characters

Alex Craft has recently learned that she’s Sleagh Maith, royal fae. Her father had placed a spell on her to prevent anyone, including her from realizing what she was, only the magic won’t be denied. A problem her father solves by casting her off. She’s also discovered she’s a planeweaver and highly coveted by all the courts of Faerie. Roy Pearson is her self-appointed ghostly assistant, acquired during events in Grave Witch and he hates Rianna. PC is her Chinese Crested dog.

She lives in an apartment over the garage at Caleb’s house; Holly is their mutual housemate, who is also an assistant district attorney. Some of the events in Grave Dance are adversely affecting Holly’s career. Caleb is fae, a green man and he and Holly are in love and going at it like bunnies. Tamara is another of Alex’s friends. She’s also the lead medical examiner in Nekros. And she and Ethan have several bits of happy news!

Rianna McBride is her newly recovered college roommate and friend. Now that Rianna’s status is set (see Grave Dance), Alex has plans to give Rianna purpose and, hopefully, prolong both their lives with Tongues for the Dead Investigations. Desmond is a barghest and Rianna’s protector. Mrs. B is a brownie, who goes with the castle Alex inherited from Coleman. Now she’s appointed herself as Alex’s office manager.

Death is a soul collector. And he’s in love with Alex. A hopeless love, we think. The “Gray Man” and “Raver” are fellow soul collectors and extremely disapproving. The mender has some very godlike powers and poses Alex and Death a weighty choice.

Detective John Matthews is Nekros PD and usually the first to call Alex in as a consultant. Now, there’s a kibosh on even talking to her! Detective Jenson is John’s partner and “a feykin in hiding” and not one of Alex’s fans. Briar Darque is an inspector with the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau. Or, as Alex describes her, GI Jane. A new cast member specifically to harass Alex — from the human side of the law.

George Caine is her jerk of a heavily disguised father, the governor, and a member of Humans First. Casey is her estranged sister.

Nina Kingly is the anti-fae widow, who wants to hire Alex to learn the truth about her husband’s supposed suicide. James Kingly is just one of the victims police think committed suicide. Only, his ghost says otherwise. Kelly Kirkwood is another widow, who hires Alex. Daniel Walters, Gromel, and Michael Hancock are more victims. It’s Steven, who provides the next clue.

Ryese is the Winter Queen’s nephew and thinks he’s all that.

The FIB is the Fae Investigations Bureau. Headed up by Falin.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a lilac-tinted gray with tone-on-tone scrolls in the corners and bracketing the series name. Color comes from Alex’s blonde hair blowing in the breeze and her royal blue tank top as she stands atop a hill overlooking a nightlit city.

I can only imagine that the title refers to the ghouls who are rising up everywhere, a Grave Memory.


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