In her third book in her Graveyard Queen series Amanda Stevens has Amelia Gray returning to Charlestons to face everything that was haunting her before she left.
Amelia Gray has lived by the same rules since she was a child but she has thrown the rules out the door and does not know how to handle the situation or Devlin, the man that she loves. She has returned from Asher Falls where she nearly escaped death, but that does not mean that she does not have physical, psychological and mystical scars. She is back in Charleston to pick up the pieces of her life and try to return to what she loves, restoring old graveyards, but a ghost of a dead cop Robert Freeman seems to defy all odds and is able to haunt her in her sanctuary. He is not willing to give her up until she can find out who is murderer was. Though she knows the rules she is forced into helping Freeman discover his murder, but in her investigation she is going to uncover more than she bargained for and she realizes how many secrets this town has been keeping.
Stevens blew me away with her debut novel, it was fantastic one of the best I have ever read, the second book was not my favorite as I felt like it was missing something important (which turns out to be Devlin) however, I liked this book more than the second one. This book returned to a format that was similar to the first and it attempts to verge on the dark side of things (but does not quite get there). I think that Stevens was trying to make this book as dark as the second book, but was not quite able to achieve it. I think that there were some opportunities that Stevens missed to expand upon or add more suspense to (especially the scenes with Darius).
I do not normally need a love interest within the books I read, but I think that it is the relationship between Amelia and Devlin that makes this story. It really is their relationship that is the key to everything in this series as it shapes everything from plot to character development. Amelia is a very different character in this novel. The events of Asher Falls have really changed her, and made her questions everything that she has known. Amelia through the first half of the book is a very depressing character and I think that Stevens takes it a little bit too far as I felt that what made Amelia unique was her drive her passion for graveyard restoring and the need to hunt down information was lost within this book. She was very lack luster in hunt for Robert Freeman murderer, which you would think would be important as it would stop him from haunting her, but she does not seem to really put any effort in to it. This was mainly due to the fact that she was so engrossed over what to do with Devlin, which is what consumes most of what she does throughout the novel.
I found this book a little bit slow to start as Amelia tries to cope with what happened in Asher Falls, and how to get her life back to normal and even if that is possible. Amelia is also struggling with what to do about her feelings for Devlin even though she knows that he is bad for her. However, in the second half of the book, events begin to pick up and more of the overall plot for this novel is played out and things really start to get interesting. I am very interested to see how Stevens explores more into Amelia's power and to be party of the journey she takes. I think that with Stevens' creative ability you really do not know how the next part of the story will unfold, which is very exciting to any reader.
I know that this may seem like a fairly negative review, but I really did enjoy this novel. I keep comparing it to the first book as Steven set the bar so high for herself, that I just want her to recapture it. This book was a lot better than second novel and I hope that Stevens is able to continue in this direction and recapture the hauntingly beautiful aspects of the first novel. I will be picking up the next novel.
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