Skip to content

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

October 14, 2010

Without further ado, here’s the back cover blurb:

Not even death can save her now.

As a grave witch, Alex Craft can speak to the dead-she’s even on good terms with Death himself. As a consultant for the police, she’s seen a lot of dark magic, but nothing has prepared her for her latest case. When she’s raising a “shade” involved in a high profile murder, it attacks her, and then someone makes an attempt on her life. Someone really doesn’t want her to know what the dead have to say, and she’ll have to work with mysterious homicide detective Falin Andrews to figure out why…

I’m a lucky girl this week. First I read the most awesomely awesome The Iron Duke and today I’ve just finished Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. She’s a new author to me, and one I’m glad to have discovered. Grave Witch is an enjoyable, well-constructed Urban Fantasy with that most important addition: a dash of romance. In fact, since this is the first book in a series, I’m going to go ahead and predict a forthcoming triangle.

The plot of Grave Witch centers around its narrator, Alex Croft. Alex is a grave witch, which means she has grave sense. She raises shades from the dead and see ghosts, too. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, shades are like extensions of dead bodies. They have information and can communicate when summoned by a grave witch, but they do not separate from the body. A ghost is detached from his or her physical body, but can only be seen or communicate with grave witches. It also appears that ghosts can become more tangible with the help of a grave witch. At the beginning of the novel, Alex has just summoned a shade for a client. She’s a PI who specializes in the cases of those who wish to talk to the dead. Because of its association with shuffling off this mortal coil, Alex’s magic makes people both fearful and suspicious. Furthermore, though in Alex’s world magic and faerie are common knowledge, they are not entirely accepted. Alex’s own father is a member of the Humans First Party, an antiwitch organization. When Alex began demonstrating her magical (wyrd) talents, she was shipped off to boarding school and made to feel unwelcome in her own home. She hasn’t spoken much to either her father or her sister since she was eighteen.

Alex is so much the black sheep in the family, that she has changed her name and her father has buried their relationship so deeply that no one knows she is the daughter of the Lt. Governor. Until one night, when the governor is murdered–and Alex’s sister Casey calls asking her help solve his murder. Alex reluctantly agrees to take the case, little knowing what she’s getting herself into. The adventures that follow include making friends with a ghost, getting a soul-sucking disease, meeting a sexy new cop, visiting a fae bar, and coming into contact with her estranged father. And that’s just the tip of the iceburg.

Alex is a fun narrator. She’s down to earth and down on her luck, but she can laugh about it. She lives paycheck to paycheck–barely. She never says it up front, but her father’s treatment of her was (and is) painful. She’s also self-effacing, which is one of my all-time favorite character traits. I love characters who can laugh at themselves. (And real people who can do the same, too.) Alex is uncomfortable with intimacy, but she has friends that care about her and that she cares about. While Alex is a great main character, Price was hit or miss with the secondary characters. I liked Falin and he had enough depth to be interesting. I was more intrigued by Death than Falin. There’s something about the lure of the dark and forbidden that’s going to get me in trouble one of these days. Price was less successful with Alex’s friends Caleb, Holly, and Tamara. I wanted to know more about Caleb and about what it must be like to be friends with a faerie. Price didn’t explore that angle nearly as much as I would have liked. Holly and Tamara could easily have been melded into one character. I found them interchangeable. Also, though I like that Alex has female friends, she strikes me as someone who would only have one. My hope is that, since this a series, all of these characters will be fleshed out in the fullness of time. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, especially if it means we get to see more of Death.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: