Rummanah Aasi
  The Restorer, the first book in the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens, was a delightful new find and enjoyable read. After the events that transpired in Charleston, South Carolina, I couldn't wait to find out what adventure Amelia Gray has next. I was thrilled to discover that Mira offered an advanced reader's copy of the book on Netgalley. Needless to say, many thanks for Mira and Netgalley. The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens is released today! This review contains no spoilers for The Restorer nor The Kingdom.

Description (from Goodreads): 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.

Review: The Kingdom takes place a few months after the events of The Restorer. Stevens gives enough background information for new readers to the series, however, I would definitely recommend reading the first book in order to fully appreciate the spooky, dark, Gothic, and suspenseful world of Amelia Gray.  Though the murder mystery in The Restorer was effectively resolved by the end of the book, we like Amelia were left with many questions regarding to her past. Though there is also a murder mystery present in The Kingdom, there is a stronger focus on the questions that puzzled us and Amelia about her ability to see ghosts and why those rules her father established about contacting the ghosts are reinforced strongly. Stevens avoids the troublesome sophomore slump with presenting us with a new, different, page turning thriller.
   Leaving behind the sultry setting, her heart, and the home of many years in Charleston, South Carolina, Amelia is transported to Asher Falls, a remote, isolated mountain town surround by water and mountains. Buried under the town and the water lurks one of the two cemeteries that was flooded by a dam, with ghosts of those buried in a state of unrest looking for justice, and in the mountains lays a dark evil that feeds on the greed and power hunger of the people of the town. Amelia feels the unrest of the ghosts. Though she logically thinks she needs to leave the town, she can't help but feel drawn to the strange town- like a calling, a vague feeling of having been there before, a need.
   I really like Amelia. Though stumbling and trying to make sense of what happened in Charleston, she pushes forward and doesn't wallow in her sadness. Though I know that she is passionate about her job and is extremely compassionate towards others, I didn't really feel like I got to know her outside of her job, but thankfully that all changes in The Kingdom, where Amelia's character growth takes front and center of the book. After discovering her secrets, we have a better understanding of her lifestyle and personality, making her that much more endearing and likeable. 

   Still dealing with everything that happen, Amelia feels a need to get away from Charleston, she feels a pull back home and a person that haunts her heart and caused her to break all the rules she's ever known and followed- Delvin, who doesn’t physically appear in this book is still very much present in spirit. I really missed Delvin and I wondered how he is dealing with everything that happened in the last few months. We are, however, introduced to another captivating character in the form of the charming and carefree man named Thane. Thane hides behind his carefully constructed social role of a wealthy local, but he is really a complex and caring man that complements Amelia quite well. Before you groan and say "not another love triangle", let me assure you that there is none. While there is mutual attraction between Thane and Amelia, their past and present are interwoven and hints at Amelia's current job. Thane is the grandson of the wealthy local Pell Asher, behind many of the bad things that has happens to the town. Amelia hired by the local historical society to redo the rich Asher’s family and now local cemetery. What she uncovers will change her whole life forever and that of those who live in Asher Falls.
   Though the murder mystery was a bit of a let down and could have been a bit tighter, I was entirely captivated by Amelia's past. There are many eye-opening and jaw-dropping moments reveals which answers some of our question but also provoke another slew of questions.While I wouldn't say the book ended in a cliffhanger, I will say that I will be eagerly awaiting the next book's release, which is next month, to find out whether or not Amelia returns to Charleston.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is are a few allusions to sex and disturbing images in the book. Though marketed to adult readers, older teen readers who enjoy urban fantasy and ghost stories will be interested in the book.

If you like this book try: The Prophet by Amanda Stevens (Graveyard Queen #3) available in April 2012, Haunted by Heather Graham, Gravelight by Marion Zimmer Bradley
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I heard such good things about The Restorer but I was completely unaware there was a sequel. Fail. I love a heroine that doesn't wallow after bad things happen, so I think Amelia will be a protagonist I really root for. Thanks for the fabulous review Rummanah!

  2. I am glad you liked this one too, I will have my review on my blog tomorrow, so we can compare notes. I agree about the murder mystery not being tighter, but all in all a good read. Love the atmospheric writing. Can I say, I feel in love with Angus. I wanted to tear right into book three!

  3. Yay for more character development as the series progresses. That's giving readers what they want. I remember hearing about The Restorer a long time ago, but I had no clue it was a series.

  4. I haven't heard much about this series, but I like the southern gothic feel to it. I want to read more books in that genre.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Yet another book I have not heard off....:/

    Thanks for the insightful review, this sounds like a series I would probably like. Southern Gothic...IM THERE!!!

  6. Wow, they put these out pretty fast then. I like that! Sounds interesting and something that I could still review on my blog as a crossover type of book. I really need to read that first book.
    Really great review Rummanah!


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