Pros: Much more depth; kept me guessing
Rating: 4 out of 5
Grave Dance is book two in Kalayna Price’s “Alex Craft” series, after Grave Witch. This time Alex finds she’s accidentally leaving holes in the fabric of reality–but she isn’t the only one. She’s dealing with “skimmers”, who despite having no magical abilities look for ways to skim bits of magic for the high of it. There are big, terrifying constructs coming after her, ones that seem to be made of both faerie glamour and witchcraft–and some sort of soul-stuff. There’s a renegade soul collector taking the souls of the living, and the denizens of faerie have decided that Alex knows too much and must be captured and taken to Faerie. She’s just starting to learn what to do with the fact that her father is Fey, and she isn’t exactly being given much time to work things out! Now all that is complicated by the discovery of a bunch of left feet with no sign of the rest of the bodies.
This being book two, some of the side characters from the previous novel get fleshed out a bit more. We also get to meet many more Fey, including Alex’s father, as well as the Winter Queen and the Shadow King. Alex has to feel her way through some very deadly negotiations, all the while trying to avoid incurring any debt to the Fey. And all of that is because she believes the bad guy’s accomplice can be found in the Fey’s realms.
Falin is back to help Alex, as is Death–the soul collector she has a crush on. There’s plenty of posturing between the two of them, and it isn’t helped by the fact that Alex knows Falin is the Winter Queen’s lover. But then again, it’s tough to have a relationship with a soul collector who, for the most part, can’t even interact with the living world (unless in direct contact with Alex and her unusual grave abilities). We’re getting to see more ways in which her abilities are highly unusual, although some of the little details occasionally feel inconsistent.
There was an interaction with the realm of nightmares in which Alex gets brief glimpses of other people’s nightmares–every single one of which is an overused cliche, so that was disappointing. I felt like there was a lot of squandered opportunity there.
I like this installment better than its predecessor largely because the characters had more depth and we got to learn progressively more about Alex’s odd abilities. I hope that the next installment digs even deeper!
NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher