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Friday, April 13, 2012

Stay put? No problem. Sleep? I don't think so...

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the place where snow nor sleet nor rain nor hail will keep the bookish reviews at bay…or the people in today’s story, in the ground. *-* Yes, today we step back from the books of children and into the waiting arms of Fiction with a paranormal twist. From an author YA fans know and love, comes a story that will take you beyond the grave if you’ll let it with a guiding hand to ensure your safe return. Without further adieu, I give you today’s book of choice….


Melissa Marr

From the publisher
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”

Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk. . . .

Sounds good and creepy right? Well it is to a degree, but its not all about the creep; it’s more about the story of their lives and the town. The curious nature of the relationship between the townspeople and events transpiring is something you come to understand as the story unfolds just as the Rebekkah and Byron do. Can you imagine going from a simple understanding of your life with explanations for the curiosities of eccentricity to oh, honey…by the way, we help the dead STAY dead”? Yeah, needless to say that’s a conversation and a half that neither Barrow women nor the chosen Undertaker are chomping at the bit to explain to the next generation. Combine that with the fact that the “trade off” requires a bit of an “ending” to occur in order for the transfer of power to take place. Hmm, power doesn’t seem like the right word here, perhaps it’s better put as responsibility.

These two have a responsibility to the town, the people in it and the world for that matter to carry on the traditions set by those before them and those before them and so on. Does it matter whether they want to carry on in this fashion? Yes and no. It should because everyone deserves the chance at a normal life (and believe me, Bek tries to escape the bonds of the town)…but if they don’t, the world they know and love will cease to exist and the somewhat sheltered life that those in Claysville enjoy will be gone forever. So really, though the option to refuse is given to emphasize free will, there’s not really THAT much of decision to make…just HOW to make it. Now, let’s talk characters…

There is a cast of characters you’ll grow to know as the story progresses but some are closer than others. Maylene, though our time with her is short, seems like a remarkable woman; highly capable of the role she was given and smart enough to set future events in motion before her time came. Her Undertaker, Byron’s father was also pretty remarkable himself. Besides carrying on the traditions his role dictates, he was strong enough to hold things together long enough by himself that the new dynamic duo could get their bearings; grant it not VERY long, but some time which one is better than no time with any.

Rebekkah is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale atmosphere…the town‘s that is, not the story. She’s not as she’s expected to be and she’s taken the lessons Maylene taught her about life and death to heart in a very real way. She feels things deeply and the absence of this guiding figure in her life is tough….especially when she finds out the truth about how she passed, and what she is expected to do now that she has. It’s a hard role to fill under normal circumstances and things are anything but “normal” in the sense that you or I would recognize. Byron, her new Undertaker and long time “acquaintance”, takes things in stride despite the fact that it’s just as much of a rude awakening to him as it is to her. You’d think living in Claysville his whole life would make it easier to digest or even guess at what’s been going on, right? Wrong.
The townsfolk are good at keeping secrets and that goes doubly for the Graveminder and Undertaker because the secrets they are guarding help uphold the veil between this world and the next. There’s a reason though that they are SO good at turning a blind eye to strange customs they witness. It’s best represented by that old phrase “It’s on a need to know basis and you don’t need to know.” Brief explanation: There are only certain people that can ask questions and discuss matters dealing with this subject….at least without getting a splitting headache and forgetting about it Groundhog Day style in the morning. Yep, it’s all part of the deal they have with Mr. D….and let me just say, he’s no walk in the park either; a curiosity to say the least.

Last but not least is a character who plays a more vital part in the story than you may at first believe….Daisha. She’s a conundrum. One moment you feel bad for her, the next you want to murder her and then you land somewhere in between. Would it surprise you if I told you in the end, you might not like her but you’ll understand her? It’s true. She does some things that are highly questionable and others that are downright evil but she’s been wronged herself and her situation as you’ll come to know is not entirely her fault. I can’t explain further without needing a spoiler alert but let’s just say, she’s one to watch. Now back to that story….

Author Melissa Marr
 It’s been said Ms. Marr knows how to build a world like no other. Do I agree? Well, let’s examine the facts. She places this story in a town not unlike many of ours with people you may see some resemblance to but with a hidden underbelly that would shock the pants off most people. The roles she gives them in this somewhat familiar world are believable though they carry a bit of a darkness too. Oh, and let’s not forget the world of the dead we pay a visit to. So, do I agree? That would be a resounding yes, but I would like to add to that compliment the balance she can strike within a character. I’m thinking back to her wonderful YA series Wicked Lovely (if you’ve not read it, you should….DEFINITELY should) and the characters that while dark and somewhat twisted had a vein of humanity to their fey nature that was still appealing even when they were doing their worst. The same occurs here in Mr. D. He’s not a good guy; he’s not a bad guy. He’s equal parts that add up to something “other” that can’t exactly be defined. It’s hard to explain, but once you read it…you’ll see.

In summary (because I know you’re dying for me to wrap this puppy up), a paranormal tinged tale that relies heavily on its connections to OUR world creating a bond that is as hard to resist as the original bargain with the founders of Claysville. There are zombies, yes…..but not in the traditional sense. It’s a new form of the classic that works well for the story’s purpose and one that while not easily summarized in a word, I found rather intriguing. Recommended read for older teen and adult fans of the author’s previous works, or those simply looking for a part contemporary part paranormal story that will give you plenty to ponder after you turn the final page. Will there be a sequel? According to her latest post on her site, no…or rather not at this time. She mentions a partial second book written, but it’s just a WIP she’s toying with….nothing serious at this time. (*darn*)

This book was released earlier this year in the paperback version you see here from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers….the same publisher for which I send my thanks for the review copy. (THANKS GUYS!) For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, feel free to visit them online, or follow along on Twitter. To discover more of the wondrous worlds of the author’s creation, visit Melissa Marr’s official website or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time…happy reading!



P.S. If you made it this far, yay! Thanks for reading….and if you don’t mind, consider voting for my site in the Independent Book Blogger Awards by clicking the VOTE button on the upper right hand side of this page. Your vote will get me one step closer to achieving the ultimate bookish dream, attending the 2012 BEA event in New York City! Thanks for your time! ^_^


Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

This has been on my wishlist..after reading your review I am bumping it up the list. Thanks for sharing!

Felicity Grace Terry said...

So much more than another creepy story by the sounds of it, thanks for this review.

Alexia561 said...

Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as I did! Really liked the world Melissa created, and looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

p.s. I voted! :)

Gina said...

Kimba88: Yay! It was REALLY a good read...

Petty Witter: Yes...MUCH more...

Alexia561: was really good and she has a knack for drawing you into the stories she creates. (...THANK YOU! ^_^)

Gina said...
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Gina said...
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