by Kalayna PricePublished by: Roc/ Penguin Publishing Publish Date: July 3, 2012 Genre: Urban Fantasy Series: Alex Craft #3 Source: ARC copy provided for review My Rating:
Blurb from Goodreads:
When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen…
As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.
But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…
I was already a fan of the Alex Craft series, but Grave Magic dives deeper into the paranormal worlds and changes the game for some favorite characters, making book 3 my favorite in the series so far.
Alex Craft is a grave witch, a witch who can connect to world of the dead, and also a plane-weaver who can see and touch other planes of existence. Her plane-weaver ability is still very new as is her apparent fae heritage. In Grave Memory, Alex is trying to start a PI business with her long-time friend, Rianna, who is a Grave Witch and a changeling (a human who was held captive in faerie). The first case they take on turns out to be much more complex than they anticipated when a suicide turns out to be a serial-killer entity taking over people and driving them to kill themselves. At the same time, Alex is dealing with relationship troubles with Falin (who is compelled and controlled by the Faerie Winter Queen) and with Death (who as a soul collector is not supposed to have a relationship with a mortal). And if that wasn’t enough, Alex’s ever-increasing faerie heritage is affecting her magic and causing her to learn more about both faerie and her background. Throw in some ghouls and a trigger happy agent, Alex’s world is anything but simple.
As you might imagine from my summary, there is quite a lot that is going on in Grave Memory. There are highs and lows for Alex throughout the book, but none of these moments are ever dull. The first portion of the book is dedicated to Alex and Rianna starting their business and trying to figure out how a man who jumped off a building was actually murdered. I really like that they have a new business going, and Roy the ghost plays his part and also provides comedic relief throughout the story. In each installment in the series, the paranormal aspects are further developed and increasingly complex. The case that Alex and Rianna stumble into is quite unique and deal with alternate planes and realities. The police don’t help Alex much in Grave Memory, they are becoming wary of Alex since she is always embroiled in the bigger, more supernatural cases. I felt for Alex because her world and her role in it is changing and beyond her control.
For the first half of the book, there is no romance for Alex at all. Falin is being compelled by the Winter Queen and not allowed to have a relationship with her at all. Falin’s attitude toward Alex is distant and cold, and it was difficult to read. In previous books, when Falin and Alex were together, free from the Queen, their relationship had sizzled. That sizzle is gone for them, and I was very disappointed in Falin. On the other hand, Grave Memory is Death’s book. Death is distant at first because of the rules about fraternizing with mortals, but he can’t stay away from Alex for long. The depth of Death’s feelings for Alex are made clear, he brought the sizzle, and he stole my heart in this book. (At this point, it’s safe to say that I am Team Death )
By the end of this book, Alex has learned much more about the collectors (which is a highly intriguing side-arc), more clues about her early upbringing are slowly doled out, and once again she saves the day, barely. It is unclear what will come next for Alex. Every time a question is answered, more questions are brought up. There are a few events throughout the book, and one big surprise at the ending that are game changers for the next book and I can’t wait to find out what comes next. (Sorry about the vagueness, but I hate giving out spoilers!)
Kalayna Price has blended a detailed, action-packed paranormal world with a relatable heroine, multi-dimensional villains, and the right amount of humor that keeps me reading and eager for more.
Urban fantasy and paranormal fans, I definitely recommend the Alex Craft series. I would advise reading the books in order, the earlier books explain how Alex is changing and growing, as well as give background to the nature of the various relationships. Grave Memory is book 3 in the series, and it’s my favorite book yet.
If you would like to read this series, here are the books in order. Grave Memory releases Tuesday, July 3: