Breezy remembers leaving the party, the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to the face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain the necklace of bruises around her neck. She also can’t explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch.
Returning home seems impossible. Her parents and sisters have clearly grieved and struggled to move on, and Breezy can’t begin to answer their inevitable questions. Her heartbeat comes and goes, she doesn’t need to eat or drink, she can see the inky memories of murderers, and she can somehow pull on this dark guilt to kill them. Haunted by the happy memories from her life and disgusted by the half-dead creature she’s become, Breezy embarks on a reckless quest to find answers and a dangerous healing magic…but the cure is as dark and terrible as the disease.
Set in a gorgeous, terrifying world, Shallow Graves is a stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the creature she’s become.
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published: January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Four stars: An addictive, creepy little read with a lot of originality.
Breezy wakes in a shallow grave, with no recollection of how she died or who killed her. A strange man, is whispering to her, without thinking, she grabs onto him, and senses the darkness inside of him. Suddenly, the man is dead. Stunned, Breezy tries to figure out what happened to her. Turns out, Breezy has been dead for a year. The last thing she remembers was a party, a stinging slap on her cheek and then nothing. Breezy wonders what she is. She no longer needs to eat and sleep, her heartbeat comes and goes, and she doesn't need to breathe. Is she is a zombie or something worse? How is it that she can sense the darkness in people?
What I Liked:
- Shallow Graves is a creepy book that kept me riveted until the end. I loved that this book was so different and addictive. I especially enjoyed the paranormal touch and the interesting writing style. If you enjoy paranormal YA, and you are craving something unique, definitely give this book a go.
- Breezy was such an interesting character. At seventeen, she wakes in a shallow dirt grave after almost a year. She has returned from the dead, but she isn't exactly a zombie. Her body doesn't need to eat, sleep or even breathe. She heals rapidly, and she seems to be immortal. She is also cursed with a strange gift. Breezy can sense darkness in people, and she can immediately tell if they are murderers. With her touch, Breezy can pull souls out and kill the murderers. Despite her condition, Breezy is a tragic character. She mourns her old life, yet pushes on to find answers. I liked that she was a fighter, and that she ends up helping others. I found that I enjoyed her character, flaws and all.
- I liked all the paranormal inclusions. As Breezy navigates across the country, she encounters a strange cultish church that is devoted to hunting down monsters. The leader of the church knows that there are monsters hiding amongst humans, and he believes it is his job to rid the world of these monsters. I was intrigued by the cult, and I enjoyed uncovering their motives, history and secrets. Definitely creepy!
- This book introduces many strange and interesting paranormal entities. Breezy meets a nightmare, a banshee a brownie, some ghouls and the strangest and most terrifying is the creature called Mother. Not to mention, there is the mystery of what Breezy is and why. I loved all the paranormal in this one.
- The delivery of the story is rather strange, and it may be off putting to some readers as it wanders back and forth through time. Some chapters take place in the past, before Breezy died, while others take place in the now as Breezy is trying to uncover what she is, and there are even a few snippets in the future. It ends up being like a puzzle, at first, when you are reading some of those scenes don't seem to make sense, but then later on, they snap into place and you understand why they were included. It required a bit of patience, but I found that I liked seeing how everything fit into the overall story.
- The ending closes with a satisfying resolution, but the door is open for more story. I am not certain if there will be another book, I certainly hope so as I think there is far more to Breezy's story. It felt a bit open. No cliffhanger but there are some nagging questions, leaving me wanting more.
And The Not So Much:
- For me, the biggest draw back to this book was that I felt like the author didn't take enough time to explore plot lines and character in the depth and detail that I love. I struggled with the paranormal creatures as I felt like they weren't fleshed out. For instance, Breezy encounters a Nightmare. Now that sounds interesting, right? What exactly does a Nightmare do? Unfortunately, there is only a scant bit of information on the Nightmare and her abilities. The same thing happened with the ghouls and the strange and horrifying creature called the Mother. I wanted more depth and fleshing out of the paranormal creatures. I wanted to know more about the how and why and what their abilities were. I also wanted a clearer understanding of the magic. I was craving more information when it came out all the paranormal in this novel.
- As I mentioned, the style of the story telling was a tiny bit frustrating in that it moved around in time. While for the most part, I liked seeing how everything fit in, I found at the end, there were a few scenes that didn't quite snap into place and make sense, like the scene in the future where Breezy was in the graveyard standing on an empty grave with one of the ghouls. When did that happen?
- While I liked the whole mystery surrounding Breezy and her condition, I was disappointed that I didn't have all the information by the end. I am hoping there is another book because I think there is so much more to know about Breezy. I am especially curious to know who the man was at her grave and why.
- As the story moves through the past, the reader discovers that Breezy thought she was bisexual. However, this isn't explored, and I wondered why the author included it to begin with, if felt out of place as it had no impact on the story, considering there wasn't any type of romance.
Shallow Graves is an addictive read, packed full of interesting supernatural creatures and creepiness. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and I grew to appreciate the wandering story delivery. This book has its flaws, but overall, I found it to be a unique and entertaining debut. I am hopeful that there will be a continuation of this story because I am hooked. If you want something original, give this one a try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.