Title: Grave Memory
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Alex Craft, #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc (Imprint of Penguin)
Date Published: July 3rd, 2012
As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.
But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a mysterious suicide occurs in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shade she raises has no memory of the days leading up to his brutal ending, so despite the very public apparent suicide, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why does the shade lack the memory of his death? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…
Since starting the Alex Craft series just three books ago I’ve really grown to love the characters already. Price does a great job at character building of both Alex, her current/potential love interests, and even the secondary characters. So the characters are probably what I love most about this series.
Unfortunately therein lies the first problem I’m having. I almost love the two love interests too much because I think I’m going to be upset either way when she finally chooses between them. There are issues preventing her from fully being with one or the other, but as the series progresses she (and I) become more and more attached to both of them. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, in fact I almost always dislike them. Sometimes though, as with this case, they have a way of building upon the main character better. Here’s what I mean:
In this case both Death and Falin represent two parts of Alex’s life and basically a fork in the road for her. Death represents the part of her that is a grave witch and he is the “comfortable” choice, even though there are some big barriers keeping them apart. On the other hand Falin represents her faerie half, which she only recently found out about. She can only be with him (according to the Winter Court Queen) by choosing a court within Faerie, which ultimately means she must move to Faerie and give up being a grave witch.
For those reasons, the love triangle makes sense. Whereas some books (mostly YA) have two love interests simply for the sake of creating conflict, in this case they do represent critical choices Alex must make in her life. I still hate the fact that I love both of them, but I can appreciate why Price went the love triangle route for this series.
As for the story itself, I liked this one and I liked how the pieces fit together in the end. I didn’t have a clue where her case was going with this one until it got there so that was a good surprise. But even though all the right elements where there, I didn’t get drawn into the story as much as with the previous books.
Overall another good installment of the Alex Craft series. Although it wasn’t as good as the first two books, I still really like this series and I can’t wait for the next book. I’d definitely recommend it to Urban Fantasy fans who like reading about witches and faeries and who don’t mind a well-placed love triangle.