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By RabidReads on 08-13-12
Alex Craft is back and better than ever before!
Alex Craft has landed another oh-my-god-this-can't-be-true case and is once again investigating the impossible. This time it's a string of suicides that are actually murders. Yeah, good luck proving that one! It's this strong detective-type backbone that keeps me coming back for more with each new installment. True, there's also a love triangle, alternate plains of existence and magic but it's the investigations that make these books good; the rest is just icing on the cake. In Grave Memory, Alex grows up, Death finally makes his choice and ghouls run amok. Alex Craft is back and better than ever before!
Our lil' grave witch is finally growing up! In this installment she opens up a Tongues For The Dead office, enlists the help of a couple of partners and makes responsible decisions. I enjoyed watching Alex leave her mark on Nekros City and face adversity head-on. I was surprised by her new attitude more than once; instead of wallowing in self-pity she buckles down and takes care of business. Alex doesn't run. She sticks by her friends, attempts to sort out her complicated love life and even manages to solve a case or two. Craft is dealing with a few internal problems as well namely her diminishing eyesight and a few new, not entirely human characteristics that have begun to manifest. Like she really needs any more challenges to add to her already gigantic pile!
The first 3/4th of this book progresses like the other two in this series; Alex follows various leads trying to solve a case. Interesting but nothing to phone home about. The last quarter is where the real meat is. We learn a few more tidbits about the Soul Collectors and score some serious Death face time which I've been craving since Grave Witch. I really enjoyed the pacing of this story. Whenever there's a lull in the action there's still plenty of witty dialogue and enough side plots to keep you entertained. I actually laughed out line a few times at some of Alex's one-liners. She finds herself in some pretty impossible situations yet still manages to laugh about them. Pay close attention to a scene involving a Ziploc bag. Just saying.
Emily Durante, the narrator, does a fantastic job of donning Alex's shoes. At first, her raspy almost pack-a-day smoker's voice annoyed me but after a few hours I no longer struggled to associate her with this series' heroine. She handles Craft's snark with ease and I even enjoyed her side character voices. Next time I won't think twice before buying an audiobook narrated by Miss Durante.
I should have known that Falin was down but not out. He pops up here and there throughout the story and then adds his two cents at the end to create another brutal cliffhanger. He just couldn't leave well enough alone could he? Generally love triangles piss me off more often than not but in this case I'm finding Price's to be wildly intriguing. The fun doesn't stop with Grave Memory; Kalayna has signed on for at least another three installments and I for one can't wait.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Kale on 07-27-12
Engaging and Entertaining
A girl's gotta want more out of life, especially when your Prince Charming drinks out of the toilet and has his wardrobe imported from Petsmart.
Personally Alex's prospects aren't much better with one fey knight who's just as likely to kiss Alex as he is to kill her and one soul collector who's avoiding her, which with Alex's luck probably means that Death is just not that into her. Professionally the only constant is a perpetually empty bank account, and at this point Craft's main career goal is staving off blindness.
So naturally Tongues For The Dead is expanding, taking on more than just shade raising, adding a couple new investigators, and an only slightly rundown office in a sketchy part of the magic quarter. Good thing too, because Alex is going to need all the help and resources she can get for this case. Suicides are suddenly on the rise. Shades and ghosts have no memory of their last days or death. Craft is sure Nekros has a supernatural serial killer on the loose. And he's gunning for a certian plain weaving grave witch.
Kalanya Price wastes no time kicking things into gear. The pacing was great, even the various plot setups and in between dialogue are really engaging giving the story constant movement when the action isn't in play. Price has written another challenging and ambitious book full of story lines to match her dueling plains of reality. The focus shifts from the fey driven threads of Grave Dance to address Alex's ever evolving life on the human plain. I like how the existing format of the Craft's life and world are changing as much as the characters' are. So many series get stagnant and boring because the author doesn't let the story or characters grow together. The changes made by the end of the book make me feel like the real story is just beginning.
Can I say that I have never wanted a love triangle so badly as I do with this series. I have picked my team and Grave Memory has a bit more romance than the last book. It was nice to finally see Death make his case for Alex's hand. Of course Craft can't catch a break since her relationships seem to come with extra complications. Yet I can't help but enjoy Price's sense of timing. She's not in a rush with the romance and she has only really focused on one beau at a time, letting the readers get to know Death and Falin along with their unique situations. I don't know when the two will collide but I can't wait to read it. The author's romantic spacing also keeps Alex from being just another wishy washy heroine who can't choose between her two or three love interests.
The only downside for me was the narration. I felt like Emily Durante was just flat in her reading. The variety of voices were ok but the performance was lack luster. Regardless of the performance Grave Memory is my favorite in the series so far. The characters and world building have progressed so much that it seems like three books in and we are only just beginning the Alex Craft novels. My one complaint is that this series only comes out once a year and I'm primed and ready for this next chapter to begin.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful