Book Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Paperback: 376 Pages

Series: Graveyard Queen #1

Publisher: Mira

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My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer–and to his other victims–lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.”

I want to say I loved this book, I do. Before picking it up, I read some glowing reviews, the blurb, and I was sure I was going to absolutely and positively love it from page one till the end. If I’m being honest with myself, I did like it very, very much, but the heroine left a lot to be desired, for me.

Amelia Gray sees ghosts. She has been seeing them since she was a child, 9 years old, and after the first encounter, her father taught her a set of rules by which she should lead her life if she wants the ghosts to leave her alone.  The moment detective John Devlin enters her life, a man hunted by the ghosts of a past life, her rules along with her way of life go dawn the drain.

This book is first and foremost an UF novel and so I was expecting a strong, independent, on her own two feet heroine. While Amelia has her own job, as a cemetery restorer, lives on her own and she’s pretty badass for seeing ghosts and not even flinching, I didn’t find her particularly brave or strong.

She’s a very passive heroine; she lets things happen to her rather than doing things herself, and everything that happens is a result of her inactions, instead of actions. The things she does decide to go out and do, of her own accord, made no sense to me whatsoever. Why does she entangle herself in the police investigation? She does work in graveyards, but she sees cemeteries as quiet places where she can get peace of mind. So why does she insert herself into a murder investigation, when she’s skittish as hell, is beyond me.

Why does she go for advice to a possible murder suspect, instead of talking to her own father? And exactly what the hell is going on between her and Devlin?

She’s compelled to be near him, she’s compelled to follow him, compelled to go to x cemetery or y accident scene. Those things are never explained, especially her unusual attraction to the, admittedly, dark, sexy and brooding detective.

I kept reading and thinking “he better be putting a frigging, actual, very real spell on her that can account for her stupid actions”. Yeah, well, he wasn’t.

A very sheltered, very unusual main character, she made me want to hurl the book at someone’s head at times. Thankfully, she does get smarter by the end of the book AND ( that’s a very big and ) I liked her because she didn’t lie to herself.

What really saved The Restorer for me were the writing and the plot. I loved the mystery, the police investigation and the guesswork to try to find the killer.

The ghost mythology was very interesting, mostly because it rang true. Ghosts leeching off of people, wanting to be a part of the world again.

The world-building was well done, if simplistic, but you know what they say..less is more.

I have to say, I am in love with the woman’s writing. Stevens is such an amazing writer, for me. The Restorer is beautiful, evocative, eerie and creepy.  This is a matter of taste, of course. For example, King’s novels do nothing for me in terms of a good scare. However, while reading this novel, there were more than a few instances in which the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and my pulse quickened.

She creates the perfect atmosphere, than uses to age-old technique of “what you don’t see is scarier than what you do”.

I’m going to read the second installment as well and hope for improvement for Amelia. Otherwise, this book was great.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens « Bookloversity Reviews

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Prophet by Amanda Stevens « Bookloversity Reviews

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