I would like to thank Penguin Teen CA for the ARC they sent me! I know this review is coming late, but I am finally in the struggle of getting my blogging life together!
Lol, that’s a lie. I’m such a mess right now. Send help. But also please enjoy my rant-y review, it was very cathartic to write!
Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
Pub Date: Oct 29, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.
In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.
When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.
But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.
Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.
Look. I was not expecting much from this book. I had no standards and was ready to have a fun time. BUT I did not have a good time with this book. I almost chose to not finish it for several reasons.
But we shall start off with some positives….
Ummm I liked the concept. I liked the idea of having to deal with traditions of a culture that just don’t make any sense. This book dealt with human sacrifice–although not as bloody as you’re probably thinking. It was a very interesting approach to the topic because of the differing opinions. The MC was very against it and she tries very hard to convince everyone else of how obtuse it is.
I also liked the flashback, a very specific one about the mother, it just gave such great context to the story. It was devastating and I was very into it. Unfortunately it didn’t appear until around 75% into the book and by the time I got to it I was so over it all.
Now let’s just get into how much I did not like this.
I hated the characters. I don’t think there was a single character that I actually liked. I know there are lots of arguments about likability, but let’s be honest if there is not even one character that appeals to you then why read it?
So…Kammani. No. I could not with her. There is flawed and then there is down right flawed to the point I’m tired of your bullshit and Kammani was at the latter level. I just grew more and more frustrated with her as time went on. She always had to be right. Always. Even when she tried to be sorry, she had to be right in some way. The way she treated Dagan was no. I understand that she did not want her worth to be tied to a man and she didn’t want to have to be “grateful” for all his help, but god she was so obnoxious about it all. If Dagan couldn’t be with her, then he couldn’t be with anyone and that is not fair. And she recognizes its not fair, but goes ahead and uses him anyways. Then with her sister. Look, I get that Kammani had a lot on her plate, she felt like she had to do it all herself–that’s the whole point of the book. But I didn’t get that humbling moment where she had to accept help. I didn’t see it. And if it was there, it was not impacting enough.
Dagan. Man, get your head out of your butt and look at the world. See how you are being treated and get some self-respect.
Nanaea. Girl. I get that you had problems too, but gosh you were such a b*tch. Spoiled and needy. And if you complain about your sister being distant, you didn’t exactly try to get closer. It’s a two-way street, love.
I got bored fast. I’ll be honest I skimmed most of the exposition so perhaps this is why I didn’t see the attractiveness of the world. From what I did gather, I did not find particularly special. I know the politics of it all were supposed to be really messy and tricky and they were and I can’t say things are left in a better state, hence the sequel coming.
Stylistically in the writing, I do believe the word “cute” was used and…I just don’t think it matched the style she was going for in this world at all.
There was a fair bit of action and deception, but I didn’t care much for any of it because I did not care for these characters. And for the most part, this was super super slow going.
Overall, I did not enjoy myself while reading this. It was highly frustrating, I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, the action and political plot were meh at best. Nothing is resolved since there is going to be a sequel, but I don’t think I will be reading it.
Rating: 1.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: It’s a NO from me dogs.
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Did you enjoy it? What do you do when you don’t like any of the characters?