Series: Gravemaidens #1
Published by Delacorte on October 29, 2019
Set in the city-state of Alu, the lugal – the ruler – lies dying. That means that three gravemaidens must be chosen to accompany him into the afterlife as his queens. Seen as a great honor, many seek to be chosen but Kammani is horrified by the ritual murder.
And then her younger sister is chosen as a gravemaiden. Kammani is terrified of losing her sister so she seeks to have her father summoned to the palace. Her father had been the best healer in Alu. Until he couldn’t heal the lugal’s young son. Kammani’s father and the rest of the family were stripped of their belongings and cast out in disgrace.
Now her father’s a drunkard but he’s Kammani’s only hope until he’s murdered and she’s summoned to the palace instead.
An orphan now, she can’t bear losing her sister as well. But what she finds at the palace is intrigue. She suspects the lugal is being poisoned but by whom. Can she save her sister by healing the lugal before the poisoner comes after her?
My thoughts about Gravemaidens
Seeing this book described as “A dark, delectable, and utterly unique series that readers will want to drown in” lured me in so perhaps I had unrealistically high expectations. And that cover is gorgeous!
The setting intrigued me a great deal. It felt like it was fashioned after Ancient Egypt and I wanted to know more about it.
Kammani – sigh. I understand her grief over losing her mother and father and not wanting to lose her sister as well but I didn’t understand where her hatred of the gravemaiden tradition came from. If everyone else thought it was an honor to the point where wealthier families offered huge monetary “gifts” in hopes of their daughters being chosen, where did her adamant horror come from?
Her treatment of Dagan, the potential love interest, was annoying too. Dagan was described as successful, attractive, thoughtful, and kind. And Kammanni wanted his help but kept putting off his marriage proposal. She expected him to put himself in danger multiple times but couldn’t even tell him that she cared for him. Instead of romantic tension, it just made me impatient. And sad for Dagan.
The pacing felt slow. Lots of worrying about what might happen and exposition but not so much action.
I was looking for a dark and menacing tone. There were some incredibly cruel, even brutal characters and actions – to the point where I was actually shocked by a couple of scenes that felt gratuitous. But overall, it just gave me a melancholic vibe.
Has a book blurb left you feeling sad? Like it misrepresented a book? I understand why authors like and ask for blurbs from fellow writers but sometimes I wonder if we’ve read the same book.
I really wanted to like this more!
This book fulfills the Popsugar 2021 Reading Challengeprompt for a book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.