Review: “Grave Witch,” Kalayna Price

Pros: Intriguing characters and world
Cons: Some characters could have used more depth
Rating: 3 out of 5

Grave Witch is the first volume in Kalayna Price’s “Alex Craft” series. Alex has grave magic, which she can use to call up and question people’s shades–a way to tap into the dead person’s memories and hopefully figure out what happened to them. She’s old friends with Death, and has changed her family name to cover up her connections to her wealthy, politically powerful family. After a bizarre episode with a dead body in a morgue, a detective named Falin Andrews decides he needs to keep a closer eye on Alex. Someone’s trying to kill her, and there are dangerous magics afoot.

 

There’s an interesting running subplot about Death’s feelings for Alex. Unfortunately it never “clicked” for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between them, so it never gelled as the emotional complication it seemed the author meant it to be. That’s probably because there was almost no space dedicated to turning Death into a full character. There’s a good handful of characters in here who never really step up for a full character treatment, even though some of them were important to the story. Alex and Falin end up being quite interesting though, and at least I felt some chemistry between them.

There are plenty of twists and turns in Grave Witch, and I do want to know more about Alex’s powers and what’s happening with them. There are Fae machinations afoot that throw a wrench in the works, and I’d like to know more about them as well. (Most of the Fae in this volume have one-note personalities so far.) And as for Falin, he has some interesting secrets of his own. Grave Witch asks as many questions as it answers.

I feel like I have a decent handle on what we’ve seen of grave magic so far, and some hints of Fae power, but I’d like to see more of other types of magic as context. In other words, while this isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, it’s good enough to make me want to read the next volume, and that’s a good thing!

 

NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher

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