Series: The Graveyard Queen #2
Published by MIRA on 3/27/2012
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Thriller
Source: ARC, NetGalley
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.
Amelia Gray may be the Graveyard Queen, but Amanda Stevens is THE Queen of Creepy. She not only matches the bone-chilling tone of The Restorer, she surpasses it by great leaps and bounds. I don’t recommend reading this late at night with the lights off, otherwise you’ll need a stuffed animal for protection. Clutching my cat didn’t work out so well for either of us.
The Kingdom picks up shortly after the end of The Restorer. Amelia has accepted a new contract in Asher Falls, SC to restore Thorngate cemetery at the behest of an anonymous benefactor. Even en route to the tiny town, she’s regaled with the creepy local lore of the ghosts of Bell Lake and it’s not long upon her arrival before she notices strange happenings and, more importantly, her own draw to the place.
I didn’t think Stevens could top The Restorer; it’s excellent and it’s hard to beat excellent, but she manages to do just that with The Kingdom. For being a first-person novel, Amelia Gray is still such an anomaly. In this creepy follow-up, we get to learn so much more about her (and her past) and I enjoyed that aspect of it. I loved learning exactly why she sees ghosts.
The new characters in this novel were absolutely vivid. Stevens incorporates more than just a mere ghost story into The Kingdom. This time, we get witchcraft, family legacies, and of course, more murder (because what ghost story would be complete without murder?). Stevens really shines when writing her characters. Every turn of the head, every blink of the pale eye is all done with something in mind. Nothing is by accident. The absolutely descriptive flow of writing to describe each character and event had them standing out in my imagination as no television ever could. Amanda Stevens paints pictures with her words.
The plot was heart-racing and I couldn’t put it down. At one point (at 1am…), I HAD to put it down before I passed out, and I was about 60 pages from finishing. I could hardly sleep, I was so excited to find out what happened next!
I highly recommend this to anyone who loves mystery and/or paranormal fiction. I especially recommend this if you have read and enjoyed The Restorer. Stevens is simply one of the best writers out there.
After a while, I grew so accustomed to those floating specters I never reacted to their presence even when I felt the chill of their breath down my back or their wintry fingers in my hair. I could even walk among them and not give myself away.