Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Review: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Witch
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Alex Craft, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 21 September 2010

Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say...

As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around...

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life... and her soul.

I've been looking forward to this book for a really long time. I bought it when it first came out, and then it languished on my ever-growing to-read shelf. It wasn't purposeful, but I had so many other things to read that I just never really got around to it. So, when some friends of mine decided to do a buddy read of the series, I jumped in!

Unfortunately, this book let me down on multiple levels. The biggest of which was Alex, herself. She's just not a heroine that reaches out and grabs me, connects with me. I like that she's got some stuff going on, that she's strong and powerful - even more so than she realizes, as is pretty normal in UF books, but she still has some weaknesses to work out. I imagine they will be worked out, to make her even more strong and powerful, but for right now there are some pretty significant drawbacks to her using her Sight. And yet...she's boring. I'm not connecting to her. I don't care.

Then there's the love triangle. On the one hand, it's a better than most love-triangle, but on the other...well, I just don't buy it. Falin is an asshole, that I kind of hate. And Death just isn't there enough for me to buy his 'I love her' moment. Though, I'm currently rooting for Death. Weird. I don't know what to do with that. But I can't get behind a guy that says 'For a woman with your reputation, you're incredibly difficult to get into bed,' like she owes him something. Ugh. Rage-inducing moment, there.

The world set-up suffers in weird ways here. There's both too much set-up and not enough. Then you have the fact that every single thing that happens in the book feels contrived, I could feel the author's hand in setting up and pushing the characters through to the desired storyline. Nothing felt organic. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is fiction and the author actually makes this up, but I want to lose myself in the story. And I can't do that if nothing feels real.

I'm thinking that this probably suffers from first-book-syndrome. A lot of first books in series do. And I'm slightly curious to see if it gets better in the second book, if things pick up and I start to actually care about any of the characters, but not enough to actually pick it up at this point. I'll read some friends' reviews and see what they have to say before I jump back into this world. Finishing the first book was hard enough because I only had moments where I was actually interested. I don't want to do that to myself again.

Grade: D

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