Friday, February 3, 2012
Book Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens
Title: The Kingdom (Graveyard Queen #2)
Author: Amanda Stevens
Release Date: 03/24/2012 (not soon enough, trust me)
This book almost made my grades drop. Why? Because initially I had to read this book in little sips while I focused on my classwork. Eventually the plot and tension in this book got so intriguing that I finally couldn't take it any more and tossed my textbooks to the side in order to finish it. I imagine that I'm not the only one who did this. Whether it's housework, schoolwork, or sleep, you'll find yourself putting off other tasks so you can finish this book!
Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town…
My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.
Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.
I absolutely adored this book, most specifically Amelia. While she does have the dubious "gift" of being able to see ghosts, she's not one of those overly aggressive "my way or the highway" female characters that wield their supernatural talent like a +4 battleax against the enemy. Nor is she a wilting flower that relies on anyone (male or otherwise) to do the job for her. Best yet, she's not the type of girl who is going to sit around and mope after a guy. Amelia reflects and maybe mourns some of the guy trouble in her life, but she isn't going to let it overwhelm her- especially not when there's work to be done and danger to avoid. She's someone that I could imagine stepping out of the pages and existing as a regular human being. It's really refreshing to see a character who isn't an invulnerable sexpot (looking at you, Anita Blake) or someone that completely requires others to save her. (OK, Bella- this one was aimed at you, not that you could really help it. Sparkly vampires are surprisingly vicious.)
It also helps that the plot in this is so engaging. There's sinister pasts, mysterious graves, and mountains with giant hex symbols carved into them. (For more information on hex symbols, click here.) These are exactly the sort of plot ideas that instantly draw you in and make you want to read it. Rest assured, this book won't disappoint you. I particularly loved the attention to detail that Stevens put into everything. There's a lot of questions answered in this book but then we get a whole host of new ones to think about, as well as a few new characters that I hope to see in future volumes.
If you haven't read the first volume, it's not an absolute necessity since so much of this book takes place in another town away from the happenings and people from The Restorer. I do recommend it, though. It's not only going to help explain some of the references that are brought up, but it's also a pretty entertaining read. If you're reading this review after the book has been released and you just can't wait to get your hot little hands on this book (or bought it without knowing it's book #2 of a series), Stevens does explain enough to where you won't be completely lost.
Overall this is one of the best books I've read this year (OK, it's February, but still). Stevens has always been an up and coming writer that I've loved, but this book shows how far her writing has come along. She's no longer an "up and coming", Stevens is already here and here to stay.
5 out of 5 stars (Freaking loved this book! I'm actually sorry that my ARC has to expire.)
(ARC provided by NetGalley)
P.S.- If you're curious about Steven's writing, she has a whole host of other books that are already out (including the first Graveyard Queen book). There's also a free Kindle version of the prequel to the GQ series, which you can find here. (Click here)