Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Restorer.

Title/Author: The Restorer. (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens.

Genre: Supernatural Thriller.

Publisher: Mira Books.

Source: NetGalley.

Favorite character: Amelia.

Favorite quote: “The Midnight stars weep upon her silent grave.” –(Epitath).
“If New Orleans is midnight, Charleston is twilight.” ~Temple
“My father had once told me that a place need not be haunted to be evil.”~Amelia.

All in all: Excellent!

Synopsis: "My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next." ~Product Description.

My Thoughts:
I was sucked into this book from the first line and the beautiful, mysterious premise paired with the main character kept me enthralled throughout. The writing is atmospheric, gentle, brooding, dark and lush all with a touch of the poetic. I could smell the flowers in the air, feel the fog on my skin and the heat of the sun on the back of my neck. The author created a charming setting in Charleston and the locale, class differences and weather add to the mood. The story is told in Amelia’s POV and there is something unique about her voice.  It is hushed and quiet like a secret which is one of the themes of this story. Hushed and quiet like the cemeteries she works in.  Many of the characters are hiding something. As Amelia unravels these riddles she gets closer to danger, emotionally as with John or her parents, and physically, as she gets closer to the killer. The chapters always end on a note that made me want to turn the page and in between them, there are nice graphics of ivy leaves that lend itself well to the setting and tone of the book.

I like Amelia a lot. She seems so melancholy. She is closed off and used to protecting herself but she is not reclusive. She does have friends and family who she socializes with, and it’s a nice balance. The only thing that bothered me, and this is a small complaint, is I felt her fixation on John gets to be a bit redundant, but it did let up as the story progressed and I found it more realistic. Other than that, I feel Amelia is very real. She is not perfect. She makes mistakes, gets reprimanded, is embarrassed, is cowed by her boss and doesn’t always know the right thing to say.

I love discovering new things by reading and when it arrives in a work of fiction, the information can come about more seamlessly than in a textbook or article. The Restorer introduced me to Taphophiles and the meaning of pareidolia. The details of the different types of archeological forensics were fascinating as well. I also learned to paint your porch roof blue to keep away wasps as well as spirits and how to read an inscription on a grimy headstone.

The author must have a blog, because her character has one as well and laments that “writing steady and interesting content was both challenging and time consuming.” That made me laugh and I thought that the use of a blog a very contemporary addition to the story and it serves various purposes.

The paranormal aspect of the book is very believable, eerie and enchanting all at once. Without it there would probably still be a good mystery, a solid story, but the paranormal is what fuels Amelia’s role and is integral to the novel.

The other characters are interesting and worth getting to know as well, especially stoic and sad John Devlin, the detective on the case and Amelia’s love interest. He is interesting and has that swoon factor by being nothing more than intense. John has to make a choice between the past and the present and his torment is apparent without being trite. John and Amelia are both haunted in their own way and while it seems at times that if they can get together they will find peace, there is also the feeling that if they get together it may cause chaos.

The Restorer is suspenseful, full of twists and secrets and I couldn’t put it down. Lots of thrilling moments full of surprises. There are so many layers that the author lets you uncover, but keeps some secrets yet to be discovered that will hopefully be forthcoming in the next books. I’m not one for series, but I don’t feel I was left hanging. The main mystery is wrapped up and the book is self contained, but it leaves a flavor of what is to come and I cannot wait to continue the adventure with Amelia.


Jenny said...

Is that really true about painting your porch roof blue with the wasps? Super interesting! I love when I learn little random tidbits like that. Whenever I do I always look up and tell my husband "did you know...?" and he's always like "that's nice." His lack of enthusiasm for my book reading is ridiculous:)

Really fabulous review, I love how this book made you actually feel as though you were there, smelling the smells and feeling the fog:)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a cool concept. Very eerie and mysterious! Love that the character has a blog. Nice touch! Thanks for introducing this title to me.

Karen said...

She must be a blogger because "challenging and time consuming" is pretty accurate!
Sounds like a good creepy mystery.

Angelique said...

Great review Pam! I have this one on my Kindle and you have made me want to dive right into it.
"atmospheric, gentle, brooding, dark and lush all with a touch of the poetic" sums up exactly what I am craving in books right now.

Bex said...

Great review! I really want to read this book; have heard a whole lot about it! Glad you enjoyed it!

Rebecca @ kindle fever

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Wonderful review! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

Ann Summerville said...

Great review. The cover is amazing.

Smash Attack Ash said...

This book has been getting mad hype. I'm glad you liked it because now I know it's wroth a read. The archeological aspects sounds fascinating!

Unknown said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one as well!

"The author must have a blog, because her character has one as well and laments that “writing steady and interesting content was both challenging and time consuming.” That made me laugh and I thought that the use of a blog a very contemporary addition to the story and it serves various purposes."

LOL I thought the same thing! =D

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