Normal towns don’t lure you back.
This is the tagline on the back of Melissa Marr’s first adult novel “Graveminder” (2011). It’s also one of the lines that impacted me as I was reading it before I even noticed it as the tagline. It was a great line to use.
The fact is: this book is about the town as much as it is about its main characters Rebekkah Barrow and Byron Montgomery. Claysville needs these two characters to keep the town safe from their loved ones who if not looked after, will walk again after they’ve died. And like the town, these characters appear to be not just connected, but trapped as well.
This is the alluring part of this book for me. The sense of claustrophobia you feel when thinking about this town and these two characters as they work out their family histories and think about their futures. Everything is intertwined and this sense of entrapment and small space was well constructed. I probably enjoyed the sense of this within Claysville the most.
Melissa Marr is mostly well known for her Young Adult series “Wicked Lovely”, and while this book is marketed for adults, I can see the tensions that would also appeal to younger readers of this age group. In this way, the book becomes great cross-over paranormal fiction that anyone can enjoy. However, if a reader is after paranormal fiction that consumes you for more than one book, I would recommend her “Wicked Lovely” series over this one. “Graveminder” is a standalone novel, though I feel like I could expect a sequel or some kind of spin-off if the author was willing, which can actually be seen in her short story “Guns For the Dead” in the urban fantasy collection “Naked City”.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoy Melissa Marr’s work with its Gothic nuances and strong characterisation (including places like Claysville). While I think people should read all of Melissa Marr’s work, I recommend reading “Graveminder” if you are looking for a novel and not a series, or if you are feeling you need to cocoon yourself inside a different world.