I knew I had to give Melissa Marr’s first novel for adults, Graveminder, a try, after enjoying Wicked Lovely so much. So when I saw William Morrow was offering this book for review, in honor of its paperback release, I simply could not resist.
Graveminder tells the story of Rebekkah Barrow, who returns to the town of Claysville, after her grandmother, who has always been very kind to her, is found dead. Rebekkah now takes on the job of Graveminder, making sure the dead do not start wandering, together with the man she abandoned years ago, Byron, the Undertaker. Painting a world of strange traditions and paranormal occurrences, Melissa Marr tells of Rebekkah’s struggles to come to terms with who she is, while struggling to hold the town and the dead to the agreement they struck with Charles, also called Mr. D., who rules the shadowy land connected to Claysville.
Melissa Marr’s style is easy to recognise in this book: the language is beautiful (though I still the think the key phrase “Sleep well, and stay where I put you” reads a little awkwardly) and the world-building of Claysville and the world of Mr. D. in particular is superb. Especially Mr D’s world had me longing to learn more, and to return to it after the end of the story. Nevertheless, I did not ultimately love this book, as some parts of it left me unsatisfied. For one, I felt Mr. D’s world was not explored as it could have been. Furthermore, as a book catered towards adults, I thought the plot was a little predictable. I guessed most of the story by page 30, even though the ultimate question of the culprit surprised me. Furthermore, I felt the characterisation was lacking in some places, especially where it concerned the relationships between the characters. For example, while one of the storylines about a relationship of Rebekkah (sorry, trying to avoid spoilers here!) led to questions of predestined love, and was problematised instead of swooned over, which I loved, I felt the subject could have been explored more, and that ultimately, problems were too easily overcome. The same goes for the exploration of the relationship between Maylene and her daughter and granddaughters. The reader does receive an answer as to why there was such a tension between grandmother, mother, and children, but it was not enough to satisfy me, especially concerning the characterisation of Maylene’s daughter.
All in all, I did enjoy Marr’s Graveminder, but compared to Wicked Lovely and my high expectations of this novel, I felt a little disappointed. The book is a little more lightweight than I would have liked, and some parts, especially the exploration of relationships between the characters, could have been improved upon. I somehow felt that it would have been natural for this book to be turned into a series, and I may like it more if it did.