I feel so incredibly fortunate for the random little “gifts” I’ve been surprised with lately.
Little things popping up out of the blue to remind me that there is always happiness to be found, even when life feel like it’s THE WORST.
One of those gifts came last weekend while I was away on a getaway (another gift), and I was shocked to find that it was this: an approval to review Gravemaidens.
I was certain my PTSD downfall had ruined all chances of ever getting publishers to look twice at me again; so first of all: BIG thanks to Random House. Whoever decided to hit that yes button, you have no idea how uplifting it was!
Okay, moving on.
Gravemaidens features a fiercely independent, headstrong young woman named Kammani. She’d rather not conform to tradition, she’d much rather follow her dream of becoming a great A-zu (healer) just like her abum (father).
She’s been his apprentice basically since she was a child. Only now, she’s finding herself with the burden of not only having to take his place as a healer, but in ALL the responsibilities.
Her abum is but a shell of a man after a series of unfortunate circumstances befell the family. They have lost everything.
Their father was once respected, they lived well.
Now, he’s a joke, and they’ve lost their status and been forced to live in the poorest part of town.
Status is one of the most important things in Alu.
But tradition comes first.
And one of the most highly celebrated and most important traditions is about to take place: the ruler of the kingdom, Lugal Marus is near death. This means he will choose 3 young maidens to journey with him when the Boatman comes to carry him to the Netherworld.
It’s considered to be of the highest honor to be chosen. You’re taken to live in the kingdom, showered with anything you desire, people celebrate and worship you. Until it’s time for you to join the Lugal and you’re sealed in the tomb to await the Boatman. But it’s okay, because he is taking you to an even BETTER life on the other side. People beg and pray to be chosen.
But not Kammani. She knows better. She knows that all it is is a death sentence for those poor young girls. Thankfully, the poor girls never get chosen.
Until they do.
Kammani’s world comes crashing down when they announce her little sister has been chosen as a maiden.
Now, Kammani has one choice: find a way to heal the Lugal so he doesn’t die. If he doesn’t die, her sister can live.
I read this to my husband during our long road trip, and I have to say we both loved it.
First of all, the book is SO atmospheric.
I’ve been very lucky lately in that I’ve reviewed a few books that are so descriptive it’s as if you feel like you can picture yourself right there. This is one of the better ones.
In this book, I loved traveling through the marketplace with the spices and smells of sizzling meats wafting through the air. I loved imagining the lushness and vibrancy of the fabrics. The sounds. The colors of the sky every day. I’m always amazed when an author can actually conjure those images out of me because my brain is very stubborn with that.
What really carried this story was the relationships between the characters and how well developed and individualistic they all were.
They all were full of personality, but their OWN very distinct personality, whether that be stubborn, funny or frustrating. Each one was FULL. And it worked, very well.
I WILL admit that an integral part of the ending was fairly easy to figure out pretty early in the book, but I’m not even mad about it.
This story had a lot of adventure, and a TON of heart.
DEFINITELY recommend this one! 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
* I received a copy of this from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
Gravemaidens By Kelly Coon
- Publisher: Random House Children’s/Delacorte Press
- Genre: Teens & YA
- Release Date: October 29, 2019
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