Friday, March 25, 2016

The Visitor ~ Amanda Stevens (earc) review [@AmandaStevensTX @HarlequinBooks @MiraEditors]

The Visitor (Graveyard Queen #4)
March 29, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm the Graveyard Queen.

Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.

Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin.

My reviews of the first three Graveyard Queen Books

The first three books in this series were released (and I read them) in 2011 and 2012 so it was a bit difficult for me to fall back into who the characters were, their relationships and what they'd experienced (and/or endured) already. There was maybe not as much of a refresher on the facts as I wanted, but I think it was still the right amount. It's enough that for you to get The Visitor and what's happening but not so much that it's too spoilery if you haven't read Books 1-3, yet.

It seems that if you read The Visitor soon (or sooner than I read it) after The Prophet you will get more out of Amelia and Devlin's relationship. You'll have a fuller picture of what they've experienced together and be able to appreciate that relationship more.

They are still a great balance for each other. Devlin can be a bit more reluctant, wanting to weigh the danger and any threats of a situation while wanting to keep Amelia safe. She's more likely to run headlong into something if it's a good mystery or what she thinks she needs to do. There's also a nice contrast - and balance - between Amelia who sees all of the ghosts (and other things) and Devlin who, we're not sure, may see them but won't admit it. She sees the ghost, he sees a shadow.

I liked that his past with Mariama is not fully resolved and, in some ways, looks to be getting even more complicated.

The way that Amelia's father's rules are restated in this book works nicely with the story. Even readers new to the series will understand what he's taught her and what following - or not following - the rules can mean for her. Yet, how it's worked into the story keeps it from being at all redundant.

The Visitor is a great blend of a ghost story, a mystery, a bit of romance, and  Southern Gothic. Perhaps it's the setting in this book, around Ezra Kroll, the cemetery and the new characters that make it feel more Gothic than the previous books. The new restoration, the new characters and the revelations about Amelia herself - and her past - make this a really great read.

The Graveyard Queen series is one you may have missed since the first three books were out in 2011 and 2012, but I highly recommend you check it out. I am already looking forward to The Sinner (#5)!

review copy received, thanks to publisher, through NetGalley

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