This is the second book in Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen series. You will want to read the first book in this series The Restorer, before the Kingdom as Stevens references back to events and characters in the first book, it also set the stage for the set of rules that Amelia has when she is confronted by ghosts.
Amelia Grey had a new commission to restore a cemetery in Asher Falls, where the only access to this sleepy and appearing to be uninhabited town is a ferry ride. Amelia won't really admit it but she is running, running away from Charleston and what happened between her and Devlin and his ghosts. She really needs to get herself re-grounded in her work and the rules that her father but as Amelia steps off the ferry the area seems to speak to her and she knows that she was brought to this town for another reason. However, there are several towns people who have made it clear that they do not want Amelia there to do her work in the cemetery and Amelia feels an evil settle over the town which is directed towards her.
I loved the first book, the Restorer, I think it was one of the best debuts that I have ever read, so I had very high hopes for the second book. I liked this book, however, I do not think that it was as good as the first novel. Stevens has a fantastic ability to write in a hauntingly beautiful way that is all encompassing that you fall into the pages that you are reading, however, I believe that this book had a less interesting and engaging plot when compared to the first. I think that the plot in this book lacked the mystery of the first. The part of the plot I did like was learning more about Amelia's past, but I do not think that this aspect was enough to sustain the whole book, I felt like there was very little development of the subplots within the town. Amelia could have questioned more or attempted to find out more about what was really going on in the town than simply just settling for people not answering her questions. I think that Stevens could have done so much more with the town and its creepy residences and feelings that Amelia was having.
I did like Stevens' descriptive development of the creepy town of Asher Falls as you feel like you are there with Amelia and that the eyes that are watching her are really watching you. Be prepared to feel the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up while reading this book and you will start questioning whether that shadow is really a shadow. I also liked that Stevens continued (though it was less in this book) with the interesting facts about graveyards and what the symbols, structure within the cemetery represent, I think this is what sets Stevens apart from many authors is her attention to detail, but not so much detail that the story begins to slow or become uninteresting.
I was not a big fan of Thane, I felt that the romance/sexual tension between them was forced (which i know had some outside help) and really most of all (and this is big for me to say this as normally I'm one that wants a little bit less of the romance) that I missed Devlin in this novel. I like that he tested Amelia boundaries and had more edge to him, and the mystery of their relationship of what could happen between because of the ghosts that haunt him. I really hope that Stevens brings Devlin back in the next book. I felt like this was just a filler book as Stevens may not have known at the time was writing this book how to further or discontinue Amelia's and Devlin's relationship
I was disappointed in this book, however, this does not mean that I did not enjoy it. I think that my expectations were so high because of the book, I cannot fault Stevens for not living up to my personal hype. I did enjoy the book overall and Stevens writing ability is some of the best out there, so there is no question I will read the next book.
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