Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens
Release Date: March 27th, 2012
2012 Mira Books
Softcover ARC: 400 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
4 / 5 Stars
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.
The Kingdom is the second book the Graveyard Queen series and as far as sequels go, it was just as enjoyable as the first. A huge fan of cemeteries myself, I had no problem sinking my teeth into Amelia's world, soaking in the Gothic-like atmosphere of Asher Falls, where Amelia is asked to do a restoration of Thorngate Cemetery, and discovers that the town holds just as many mysteries and secrets locked in its heart as the cemetery, some of them dangerous.
One of the events that caught me off guard right away was Amelia's discovery, and subsequent adoption, of a local stray she named Angus. I was somewhat disappointed in this storyline however, as it didn't really seem to go anywhere and while Amelia kept Angus, his plight was never fully developed or explored in a way that it could have been or possibly should have. Dog-baiting/fighting is a topic that tends to float around the background quite a bit, and is a huge issue, but I felt like the storyline just petered out.
Ms. Stevens manages to evoke a sense of eeriness and mystique even during bright sunny days. Her writing is evocative and can be downright creepy at times, and the descriptions of the cemetery, the mausoleum, the mansion, the forest, and other places certainly add to that sense of chill that seems to follow Amelia around wherever she goes. I love it when an author can send a chill down your back with a simple description or a few simple words and this novel definitely carries a sense of foreboding all the way through it. Despite this atmosphere, and despite Amelia's gift, some of the events were somewhat far-fetched and I had trouble believing in them completely as going by one's senses or one's feelings can only carry along a novel so far before a reader is looking for some explanations, explanations that were not fully given. While I like that Amelia discovered more about her family history, and about her adoption, there were some things that I was not convinced had closure and could comfortably close in a box as being resolved. I have 'feelings' all of the time too, but you don't see me running into the forest in the middle of the night because of them. No way!! I've watched those movies where the girl goes out looking for the creepy thing and look what always happens to her.
I will have to admit that the one big disappointment for me in this novel was the absence of John Devlin. I have grown very fond of him, and even with Amelia's new love interest in the sexy Thane Asher, I admit I am still a Devlin fan, ghosts and all. The end of The Kingdom made me very happy and I am very curious as to how everything will resolve itself in book three. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Thane's character and his personality and I liked how conflicted he was, but deep, dark, and brooding? What can I say? Yummy!
The Kingdom was a satisfying sequel to the The Restorer and again, I enjoyed the gothic feeling to this novel. The descriptions were creepy and carried that sense of foreboding that works so well for a fiction novel with supernatural elements, and the characters were intriguing and individual, even though there were some that I would have liked to have seen more development as they were interesting, such as Tilly and Sidra. I am looking forward to reading the third novel in this series, The Prophet, which is already sitting in my to-be-read pile, to be released April 24th, 2012.