Review: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

September 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Star Rating:

Date released: 1st September 2010
Publisher: Penguin
Author’s website:
My source: Amazon Kindle Store
Part of a series: Yes, #1 Alex Craft series
Find it at: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N




GoodReads synopsis:

As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.

What worked for me:

  • The plot. It was great, really interesting and the conclusions that Alex made were logical, didn’t leap into the unknown and flowed quite well. The element of mystery was almost tangible, as was the atmosphere of constant danger.
  • Death, the character. He was hot, that’s for sure. I was always intrigued by his presence, he seems like such a great persona! Pity we don’t see enough of him and that he’s basically bound by whatever rules that soul collectors have to abide by.
  • The categories of witchcraft. I liked that Alex wasn’t just a witch, she was a grave witch. I liked the different categories each individual witch could be placed in, because it made it easier to organise in my head and ultimately made it easier to understand the world I was reading about.
  • Alex’s friends: Caleb, Holly and Tamara. I liked the friendship between them; close and dependable but not suffocating.
  • The scene at the Eternal Bloom. Usually ‘heavy’ fae books scare the bejeesus out of me, and I was wary of reading this scene. It was very craftily written though, with everything I expected out of a Fae-run establishment and more. I liked what happened during this scene, too, where Alex cuts the silver thread and breaks the violin’s strings, I was held in thrall throughout this chapter.
  • The sex scene between Alex and Falin. It wasn’t over the top but it was still quite steamy. I liked the buildup towards it, and laughed at the cab scene where the driver is yelling at them.

What didn’t work for me:

  • Falin’s lies of omission. I feel like it was a huge “no-no” after we discovered he is the Winter Queen’s lover and assassin, especially because I had such high hopes for a relationship between Falin and Alex.
  • The quasi-love-triangle that emerges when Alex is near death, between Alex, Falin and Death. I don’t do love triangles very well, especially of the intended lover is unclear and it’s just a tug-of-war with no determined ending or path to walk towards.
  • The world building. I’m heavily into books with fantastic worlds, but I feel that Price’s city of “Nekros” was… really terrible. I mean, with a name like that, it automatically makes me think of cringe-worthy emo teenagers who flaunt morbid labels. The actual world in which Alex lived in was always quite blurry. I didn’t need precise details, but some more information would have been lovely, Ms. Price.
  • Alex, as a character. She seems like she’s so unsure of her identity, her actions are governed on a whim and she seems impulsive without a cause. I can admire an impulsive heroine if it’s in her personality, but Alex jumps back and forth between logic and stupidity at times
  • The dialogue was dry and boring, I felt. I didn’t feel any particular spark between characters through their dialogue, and I’m big on it.

I actually picked this book back up again after about two weeks when I had first begun to read it. The first few chapters are boring, but it was only after the entrance of Detective Andrews did I involve myself into the story. Alex seems likeable enough, and something tells me she’s as special as Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, a special element that will be revealed in subsequent books in the series. I enjoyed the race to find the mysterious ritualistic killer and was interested throughout.

I really hate love triangle books, and I’m hoping the next installment doesn’t have one. Well, let me reiterate: I hate love triangles where the main love interest is unclear and the one in between is indecisive. Hate. That. It just drags on and on.

Still, a 4 Star read – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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