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.
Paperback, 1st Edition, 384 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Mira
Four and half stars: Amanda Stevens returns with more chills and thrills in this creepy sequel to The Restorer.
Amelia Gray, is escaping Charleston after the terrifying and climatic events at the end of book one, The Restorer. She takes on a new graveyard restoration job, in the small town of Asher Falls, South Carolina. Amelia is hoping that burying herself in the cemetery restoration will take her mind off Devlin. She ended her relationship with him, knowing that it could not continue as long as the ghosts of his wife and daughter haunt him. Her brief romantic interlude with the handsome, overly protective detective, led her to break several of the cardinal ghost rules, that were stamped into her head, by her father during her childhood. Disregarding these all important, safe keeping rules, has left Amelia open to the ghosts and possibly the evil that creeps at the fringes of our world. On the ferry ride over to Asher Falls, she peers into the water and sees a ghostly form. Then a handsome stranger, and resident of Asher Falls, Thane, informs her that Asher Falls is no ordinary town. It is an isolated town, cut off from the main road, and steeped in secrets. The old cemetery was flooded several years ago, during a construction project, and now it lies at the bottom of the lake. This revelation is just the beginning of the creepiness that awaits Amelia in Asher Falls. It seems this small little town, in danger of becoming a ghost town, has many dark secrets and evil lurking around every corner. A place where many have tried to bury their secrets and the darkness in their hearts with the dead, but sometimes the dead still whisper and deadly clandestine information refuses to stay buried. What evil is hiding in the town? Why is it stalking Amelia?
What I Liked:
- Amanda Stevens knows how to create a chilling atmosphere. The first pages draw you in when Fate's long, cold boney finger stabs out, gesturing for Amelia to come closer. Fate continues her deathly lure, dragging a reluctant Amelia into a town with mystery, deadly secrets, ghosts, an unmarked grave, something evil hiding in the mountains and a life shattering revelation. This book will grab your imagination. You can almost feel the spectral fingers that shiver down Amelia's spine. Yet, the scenes are perfectly woven into the story, just enough to provide the right amount of chills without going over the top. If you love a good ghost story with plenty of spine tingling tension, get this one right away! If you scare easily, don't read this one alone at night.
- I appreciated that this book is written so that it can be a stand alone book. Amelia plunges into a mystery in Asher Falls, that draws upon her background, but for the most part, it is a separate story line from The Restorer. You can easily slip into the ghostly pages of this book, without having read book one. Ms. Stevens provides enough background information to fill you in along the way. Honestly, it has been a year since I read The Restorer, so many of the details were fuzzy for me anyway, and it truly was not a problem in reading this title.
- I am fascinated by the whole concept of graveyard restoration (I know a little creepy, right?) since I read The Restorer. Let's face it, graveyards are not something that most of us care to ponder over at great length. However, Ms. Stevens will intrigue you with her careful descriptions of headstones, their symbols and their meanings, as well as the discussion of graveyards and their restorations. Ms. Stevens has certainly done some meticulous research in creating her series. I had no idea that graveyards could be so intriguing. My only complaint, there isn't more on this topic in the book.
- Can I just say, I love Angus! When Amelia arrives at her new lodgings, she spots a maimed, starving dog wandering loose. This poor pooch was the victim of a dog fighting kennel. Amelia ends up taking in this dog, and he ends up stealing the show. I wanted to scratch his stumpy little ears.
And The Not So Much:
- This book focuses on a murder mystery with roots that go back twenty eight years. When the terrifying events lead to a thrilling climax and a satisfying ending, (no cliffhanger) I was left with many unanswered questions. The revelations felt a bit hurried and many of the details were glossed over. There were just too many loose ends for my taste. I needed more detail especially on Luna, her behavior and actions.
- Two secondary characters Tilly and Sidra were brilliant additions, unfortunately they spend much of the book lingering in the shadows until both come forward and divulge some eye opening information. I would personally like to see them both play more of a significant role. They were fascinating. I only hope that they will be back for book three.
- The other story line left dangling was the discussion brought up in the first pages about Pell Asher and his sins that ruined the town. This was just barely touched upon in the final pages, leaving me wondering, what were all of his crimes?
The Kingdom furls out its ghostly tendrils and drags you into a story filled with mystery, ghosts, secrets and the evil that can consume ones soul and mark it with darkness. If you are a fan of hair-raising, spine chilling ghost stories, you need to check out The Graveyard Queen Series by Amanda Stevens. Ms. Stevens brilliantly crafts a chilling atmosphere that will leave you shivering long after you close the pages. This is an addicting series that you won't want to miss. I immediately wanted the next book after reading the conclusion of The Kingdom. Luckily, The Prophet, book three is set to release, April 2012. Reader beware, if you are faint of heart don't read this alone on a dark night, you may find yourself peering at all the dark corners in your room once the lights are out. If you want a tantalizing taste of this series, you can read the prequel, The Abandoned for free on Amazon.
“The dead down there don’t want to be forgotten...ever again.”
“She had the air of someone who knew dark things. Like me.”
“In that in-between moment of light and dark, the night creatures hadn’t yet stirred.”
“How can you know who you are if you don’t know where you come from?
“Something was seriously amiss in this town. I’d felt it the moment I crossed Bell Lake. The shadows seemed deeper, the nights longer, the secrets older. Even the wind felt different here.”
“Without the touchstone of family, one leads an imbalanced life.”
“The strongest ties are blood and land. They are constant. Romantic love is all too fleeting.”
“Grudges are like supersitions. You know they don’t make sense, but you cling to them, anyway.”
“The breeze lifted my hair and stroked my face like a lover’s caress.”
“Moonlight shimmered through the live oaks, silvering the Spanish moss that streamed like an old woman’s hair in the breeze.”
“He kissed me, again and again, his tongue weaving a trail of black magic that lured and enthralled and seduced.”
A big thanks to Mira Publishing for provding me a copy of this book for review.