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Graveminder Paperback – May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; First Edition edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061826871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061826870
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description
The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them.

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.


A Q&A with Author Melissa Marr

Q: What inspires you as a writer?

Marr: Music, travel, and lore. Graveminder began in 2007 on a trip to Ireland during which I’d read a paragraph or so on the “hungry dead.” Wicked Lovely sparked from Scottish folklore. The YA novel I just wrote, Carnival of Souls, was a combination of a phrase from a song and an article on demonology.

Q: Where did the story in Graveminder come from? Did something in particular spark the characters or the plot?

Marr: Once I had the general concept (“mind your dead lest they come back hungry”), I looked to my own life. I enjoy cemeteries, and I’m fascinated by lore/myth of Death. I added a small town, a ghost-town-esque land of the dead, and various other things I like. This is actually the novel closest to my roots in many ways.

Q: The characters in Graveminder discover they have had a destiny to fulfill since they were born. Can you talk about putting characters into that situation and what it brings out in them?

Marr: Between the Wicked Lovely series and this, it’s pretty obvious I’m fascinated by the idea of fate and choice. I think we are all born with advantages and disadvantages because of so many things beyond our control (family, economics, culture, religion, country, genetic factors). People can be defined by those factors, revise their fate—or opt for some combination of the two. That choice is what makes our stories as people unique.

Q: How did you go about building the Graveminder mythology? Is it based on any folklore or mythology itself?

Marr: Around the world there are all sorts of traditions of ancestor regard and duty to the dead. Some traditions dictate how the dead are taken to the grave to keep them from finding their way back if they wake; some traditions include speaking (or not speaking) of them. There are myriad traditions I’d have loved to explore, but the one I used at base is that the dead must be nourished with food, drink, and story for a set time. Failure results in the dead coming back to get a different manifestation of the nourishment they need—flesh, blood, and breath.

Q: In Graveminder the dead walk among the living and the living can even walk among the dead. What are your thoughts about these two worlds you’ve created?

Marr: I like liminality, borders and those who exist on and because of the lines. Much of the real world is defined by a series of in/out groupings. We are either a or b; things are good or bad; and everything is pro or con. The reality, I believe, is that there are often gradations—degrees of right and wrong, measures of beautiful and horrible. By juxtaposing worlds, I have characters who are always “strangers in a strange land.” Plus, well, it’s just more fun to write.

From Publishers Weekly

YA bestseller Marr (Wicked Lovely), in her first novel for adult readers, serves up a quirky dark fantasy fashioned around the themes of fate, free will—and zombies. When Rebekkah Barrow is summoned home to Claysville for the funeral of her beloved grandmother, Maylene, Rebekkah doesn't know that she's been designated Maylene's successor as the town Graveminder, whose job it is to give the recently deceased food to keep them in the Land of the Dead. Not coincidentally, her sometimes lover, Byron Montgomery, has just succeeded his dad as the Undertaker, who works intimately with the Graveminder. Even as the pair ponder the grave responsibilities that their weird destinies have thrust upon them, they doggedly pursue Daisha, an adolescent who died under suspicious circumstances and who, unburied and untended, is wreaking havoc around town as a rampaging member of the Hungry Dead. Not everything adds up in Marr's story, but the well-drawn characters and their dramatic interactions keep the tale loose and lively. 6-city author tour. (June)

More About the Author

Hmm, I'm never good at the bio bit. I used to teach college & bartend, now I write novels. I love to meet new people, to hear their stories, to walk through new streets and see new vistas. I enjoy art in all its guises--graffiti, surrealist paintings, classic sculptures, tattoos, interesting buildings, Renoir, photography . . . Art & nature, they feed my soul & thus my muse.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Heather VINE VOICE on March 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a long standing fan of Melissa Marr's. I think she is an extremely talented writer who portrays character emotions flawlessly. While I can't say that I enjoyed "Graveminder" as much as her "Wicked Lovely" series, I will say that Marr has done a great job of bridging the gap between young adult and adult literature. The lore within "Graveminder" is fresh, intriguing, and intricate enough to warrant additional books within this world. However, the ending is resolute to the point that "Graveminder" could also serve as a stand alone novel. Furthermore, the story is paced just well enough to keep your interest. With that said, I did have a few qualms.

Graveminder tells the story of the Barrow women and Montgomery men, who were tied together centuries ago when the town of Clayton made a deadly pact. It has been the responsibility of the Barrow women to act as graveminders (literally minding the graves of the dead) ever since, with the Montgomery men (undertakers) to act as guide and protectors on their quest to the world of the dead. When Bek Barrow's gradmama, and current graveminder, is found dead, it is up to Bek to carry on the mantle.

The main characters Bek and Byron were nice enough, but they were just a bit too vanilla for my taste. Too cardboard. And Bek was commitment phobic to the point of obnoxious. Frankly, I would have dropped her off a bridge and had a hard time swallowing that any honest to goodness human being would truly put up with such a person for so long, and yet Marr created a hero that has and does. It was just too altruistic to be believable.

Additionally, and I'm not sure if I should feel this way, but the most interesting character of this story was by far Charles, aka, Mr. D and yet he gets very little page time.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been struggling over this review for a bit now--normally I love Melissa Marr's writing and The Graveminder sounded wonderful when I read the synopsis. And the idea of the world of The Graveminder is very intriguing: a small town has a tunnel, unknown to almost all, to the land of the dead, and the Graveminder and her counterpart, the Undertaker, must make sure that the dead don't cross back into the land of the living because the dead in our world see the living as lunchables. It's just that the execution of this story is, well...not so hot.

The biggest problem for me is that I never once warmed up to any of the characters. The story opens on Maylene, the town's Graveminder, being murdered by an escapee from the dead; her granddaughter (though not by blood--this point is hammered home again and again and again) Rebekkah is summoned home to the funeral, which must take place within a day because there's a law against embalming in Claysville. Rebekkah has spent the past 9 or 10 years running away from Claysville and her sometime lover, Byron; Byron, newly returned home to Claysville to work with his father in the funeral home business, was once in love with Rebekkah's step-sister Ella (who killed herself years before). Rebekkah loves Byron and Byron loves Rebekkah but Rebekkah believes they can't be together, so they aren't, until she returns home and it is revealed that, upon Maylene's death, Rebekkah has been named the new Graveminder (a position neither she nor Byron knew anything about). Byron, by default, is the new Undertaker, the man charged with protecting the Graveminder and escorting her back and forth from the land of the dead and also from the mysterious Mr. D (Mr. Death? Mr. Devil? Mr. Davis?), who seems to be in charge of the dead.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzi Hough VINE VOICE on September 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

After the violent death of her grandmother Maylene, Rebekkah Barrow returns to the small town of Claysville for the funeral. Rebekkah - "Beks" to her friends - knew that her grandmother had little rites that she performed for the dead, pouring whiskey on fresh graves and that sort of thing, but she soon learns that these rituals served a darker purpose: if the dead are not cared for, they will return from the grave. Now that Maylene is gone, the task of the Graveminder has fallen to Rebekkah. Assisting her in the new role is the Undertaker, Byron, a friend and lover from Rebekkah's past. During this transitional period, as Byron and Rebekkah learn their new roles, an evil has been unleashed, and they'll have to work quickly to seal it up once more.

"Graveminder" is one of those books that I wanted to love because the concept was so interesting, but didn't. First, the good. Melissa Marr does an excellent job building the dark, creepy atmosphere. It's almost as if every scene has a shadow cast over it, muting any potential levity and creating an aura of menace. The town of Claysville, on the surface, seems so wholesome and innocent: it's a safe place where people live healthy, uneventful lives. But the price of this safety is the creation of Graveminder and Undertaker, and the evil forces they must keep tamped down at all times. It's a perfectly promising premise for a horror novel.

But then we have the characters. Rebekkah has got to be one of the most singularly annoying women on the planet. She and Byron have had an on-again, off-again relationship for years, and the tête-à-tête between the two of them is unbearable.
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