Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Grave Witch”

Cfar1′s #CBR4 review #05 of Kalayna Price’s Grave Witch

I discovered the Anita Blake series long ago and fell in love with the mix of fantasy and action.  I think she was actually the first female protagonist I really enjoyed reading about.  I devoured everything I could get, then the series became more about sex than the story or the characters and I quit.  I still reread the early books on occasion and recommend them to friends.  I credit the series with both introducing my to dark urban fantasy and kick-ass female protagonists.  I keep buying books searching for something to fill that void in my reading diet.  I have discovered a few writers and characters that partially do so, but not yet found one I can say solidly does so.  My most recent attempt isn’t a bad start though.


Alex Craft isn’t the tough, vampire slaying, zombie raising Anita, but there are some similarities.  Alex raises shade rather than zombies, and makes them visible so they can speak with relatives, testify in court, whatever is needed.  There weren’t any vampires or werewolves in this first book in a series, however there were witches, warlocks, gargoyles and several types of fairy.


Alex Craft is estranged from her family.  She is a grave witch, born with the ability to see ghosts and act as a bridge between the worlds of the living and the dead.  She can also do other types of magic, although not as well as she should be able to.  Alex’s sister asks her for a favor, to look into the death of a coworker of their father.  She sometimes acts as a police consultant and tries to do the favor using her connections only to end up finding something very odd about the body.  She does the job she was supposed to do for the police, raising a shade to testify in court about her murder, then is nearly killed by a gunman while leaving court.  Her friend, the detective she works with is seriously wounded by a spelled bullet, meant for her, and she finds herself stalked by both a persistent ghost and a mysterious detective she finds both attractive and sinister.  As she pokes deeper into the case she uncovers a ritualistic serial killer, strange information about her past, and lots of  nearly deadly encounters.


There isn’t a lot new to the world, but everything is done pretty well.  There are interesting supporting characters, we don’t find out much about them, but that leaves the author plenty to do in the following books.  The protagonist is rounded out fairly well and is both believable and sympathetic.  She lets the reader find out the rules of her world naturally rather than spoon-feeding it to us.  I though it was a good introduction to the series and already have the second book ready to go.  She also has another series I may check out.  This was also the first book read completely on the kindle app on my droid phone.



Malin’s #CBR4 Review #49: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Plot summary from Goodreads, because I’ve been trying for about half an hour to recap this in a decent way, and failing miserably:

As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.

I picked up this book because it was the first book featured in Internet geek queen Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout, an online book club that features exactly the sort of stuff I love to read. Never one to let a chance to add another first person narrated female paranormal heroine series to my already looong list (doing a rough count in my head, I think I’m currently following and enjoying 15 different ones), I was still pleasantly surprised by Grave Witch.

The world building is nice, and there are no vampires or werewolves anywhere. The paranormal races introduced so far are witches and the Fae (who come in a variety of wicked and devious and intriguing). Then there’s the soul collectors, of which Death is only one of several (they made me think of the reapers in Dead Like Me, which is never a bad thing. There are a whole range of different types of witches, as well, with different skill sets and abilities.
Alex is a great heroine. She’s determined and independent, and has changed her name and become estranged from her father and sister because her witchy powers would not help her dad’s political career. Unlike a lot of paranormal heroines, she’s not super powerful or the best in the field at what she does, but she takes pride in her abilities, and will unfortunately often push herself to the limits of her endurance to help her friends. Using her powers takes a definite physical toll on her (she can go temporarily blind if she overuses her grave magic), which also makes a nice change from a lot of other books out there.
As well as an engaging, and well rounded (she’s got her fair share of flaws) heroine, the book has a very cool cast of supporting characters, including the seemingly unavoidable love triangle. Detective Falin Andrews starts out as an annoyance to Alex, but sparks obviously fly, even when Alex knows she should probably stay away from him. Her long friendship with the soul collector she calls Death is also changing, after he literally pushes her away from a bullet. As she’s the only one she knows who can see him (and his “colleagues”), it can create complications in the romance department though.
The story really grabbed me, and I hated having to put the book down. I don’t think I’ve been as excited by a series since Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series or Patricia Briggs’ early Mercy Thompson books. Absolutely recommended to fans of paranormal fantasy with romantic elements.

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