Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Title: Shallow Graves
Author: Kali Wallace
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.
Review by Nara

After finishing that book all I can think at the moment is dang, that was left so open! I definitely would have liked for there to have been more exploration of this alternate world where creatures roam around under the guise of humans. I feel like the explanation of the magic system wasn't that great- apart from the statement that death brought about magic, there wasn't really too much more explanation. That, of course, might have simply been because the main character wasn't really given great explanations, but I still would have liked there to be a bit more to it than just that. And it's a standalone! No chance for more explanation in sequels.

I actually really would have liked for this to be the first in the series. The characters are quite fantastic. Main character Breezy is quite an interesting class of creature- some sort of undead thing that's not a zombie or ghoul: she "feeds" by absorbing the life force of murderers. She's quite snarky, and combined with the slight arrogance that comes with basically being invincible, she has some hilarious banter with many of the other characters. She also happens to be bisexual- and this thankfully doesn't feel like something that's just thrown in for the sake of it.

Where the book falls oh so slightly short is that the book had this sheen of unbelievability about it. I get that it's a paranormal and therefore technically "unbelievable", but even in the reality of the world, it felt a little shaky. This is probably because the world building wasn't quite up to scratch.

I've basically said nothing about the plot because I feel like it's good to go into this one without knowing too much about what happens. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout, and the book often goes way off into directions that you don't expect- in a good way. Definitely recommend this one to fans of paranormal fantasy that are looking for something quite different.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5