- File Size: 3340 KB
- Print Length: 412 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: BenGalley.com; 1 edition (December 7, 2018)
- Publication Date: December 7, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07H9KJ1PV
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 412 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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About the Author
When he isn't conjuring up strange new stories or arguing the finer points of magic and dragons, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant, helping fellow authors from around the world to publish their books.
Ben enjoys exploring the Canadian wilds and sipping Scotch single malts, and will forever and always play a dark elf in The Elder Scrolls. One day he hopes to live in an epic treehouse in the mountains.
Ben can be found on Twitter or vlogging on YouTube @BenGalley, or loitering on Facebook and Instagram @BenGalleyAuthor. You can also get a free eBook copy of his epic fantasy The Written at bengalley.com.
"Chasing Graves, with its well paced and tight plot is intricate and rewarding… the story is nuanced, dark and complex… I can’t wait to put my hands on the sequel.”
– Lukasz P, Goodreads Reviewer
“I enjoyed this book immensely, there rarely ever being a moment when I felt ready to put it down before I finished it.”
— Diogo Capelo, Goodreads Reviewer
“There’s serious grounds here for building something spectacular.”
— Emma Davis, Fantasy Book Review
“Galley has created a fascinating world that feels rife with stories that could be mined across multiple series. Its history is rich with detail and there’re so many avenues to be explored.”
– Adam Weller, Fantasy Book Review
"To say that the concept of Chasing Graves is grimdark would be an understatement... The world building is fantastic and reminiscent of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series.”
– Grimdark Magazine
“Chasing Graves is a deliciously dark tale of treachery, secrets and murder filled with a cast of truly detestable characters.”
– Justine Bergman
"With detailed characters, a twisting plot, and a heavy dose of gory darkness, Ben Galley has once again produced a fantasy you can sink your teeth into.”
– The Grimmedian
“Chasing Graves is a dark, compelling entry into a trilogy.”
– RockStarlit BookAsylum
“Galley’s writing is both simple and elegant, with lovely turns of phrases and clever metaphors and puns… a great first book to a series I sincerely can’t wait to complete.”
– Novel Notions
“The characters are fantastic, colourful and well-rounded.”
– Al Burke--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Thus begins the series of unfortunate events which is Chasing Graves. Here is where we discover the hellish existence of being dead but alive, a shade and a bound slave. Ben Galley has a gift for finding the humanity within the inhuman, and showing the inhumanity in abundance in mankind. A highly immersive dark fantasy with a fantastically imagined premise.
With detailed characters, a twisting plot, and a heavy dose of gory darkness, Ben Galley has once again produced a fantasy you can sink your teeth into. Or not, after all, the book is chock full of corpses. I enjoyed this very much and am looking forward to what the future holds for Castro Basalt in book 2, Grim Solace.
Now Basalt will have to find a way to navigate the world a half-life, a slave to his master and the copper whip. He can sit and stew or maybe find a means to combat his situation.
With points of view from all rungs of the social ladder, Galley builds his world with great skill. Details of the soul economy, the dress and customs of the City of Countless Souls, and the language and beasts of every culture finding its way to this metropolis make for a complexly-drawn experience. Told through the eyes of the newly-minted shade Basalt, the shademaster Temsa, and many others, the plot includes powerful manipulations of both individual characters and all the peoples of Araxes.
Galley has created a first book with a rising plot arc, one that has in no way reached its climax, but has placed all the pieces ready for a rollicking second book. A couple shocking reveals in the final pages of Chasing Graves create much anticipation for Grim Solace, Chasing Graves #2.
This is also not a city that you want to be walking around in alone, but that's just the situation that petty thief and locksmith Caltro Basalt finds himself in after being summoned to do a job by an anonymous employer residing in a large tower known as Cloudpiercer in the heart of the city. Caltro simply can't resist the possibility of a huge payday and so he disembarks a ship into the dangerous streets. His mission is to seek out the enigmatic occupant of Cloudpiercer and find out what he may be offering.
It's not surprising though that immediately following his entry into Araxes, Caltro is jumped by a gang of soulstealers and killed in a vicious and horrific way. He soon finds himself just another soul in the countless masses of shades and ghosts who roam the city to perform laborious tasks for their wealthy masters. Caltro can't believe his misfortune and how suddenly his life was extinguished. He is determined to figure out a way to free himself from the bond he is now forcibly committed to.
In this city of the undead we also find Nilith, an embittered woman who murders her husband in a fit of rage after she discovered his frequent infidelity. The opening pages describe her dragging his soul across the desert in the hopes of binding his body and collecting on the huge inheritance that she will receive as a result of his death. It's the ultimate case of payback for an unfaithful and lecherous husband.
Araxes however, is a city that may be about to experience a change in the usual running of things. There are rumors of an ancient cult that is bribing local soulstealers and amassing a ghost army for purposes that are as of yet unknown. Then there's the ambitious princess who has her sites set on the Emperor's throne, thrusting the future of the city into further uncertainty. The ultimate outcome of all of this instability and treachery will be set against the backdrop of a city where the dead don't stay dead for very long and supreme power lies with the richest and most willing to commit murder for their own benefit.
I was absolutely haunted (no pun intended) by CHASING GRAVES from first page to back cover. This book is a wonderfully unique blend of dark fantasy, horror, paranormal fiction, and ancient mythology that is driven by an incredibly suspenseful and gradual convergence of storylines. I'm ashamed to admit that this is the first Ben Galley book that I've had the opportunity to read, but after this experience I will definitely be picking up more books of his.
The premise of CHASING GRAVES is such a unique one, involving bonded ghosts forced into servitude against their will. When I first read the synopsis I originally thought that it sounded like a cool idea, but after reading the book I have to say that Ben delivers on that cool idea even more than I ever even imagined possible. The story is told through a few POVs, but it never gets confusing and every time the book changes perspectives it just builds on the story and pushes it to what you know is going to be an amazing conclusion.
I thought the character of Caltro was very well done and he perfectly embodies the helplessness and anger that many of the bonded souls feel as they had their lives snuffed out simply so that a rich aristocrat could have free labor that they don't need to pay or feed. He's an often snarky character who is constantly searching for a way out of his predicament. And the supporting characters, while not as deep or complex as Caltro, are still compelling enough to make you care about their individual stories as well.
I loved CHASING GRAVES and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a different kind of fantasy with great world-building and awesomely creepy ghosts. This really is one of the most original fantasy books I've read in quite some time. Pick it up and read it. The pages and all of your free time will fly by but you will relish every minute of it. The good news is that there are also two more books after this one that round out the Chasing Graves Trilogy.
One thing I especially liked was that the characters stayed true to who they were. Caltro didn't just drop his normal behavior and become a hero. This is what many books like that do. They instantly go into hero mode when it does not at all fit who they were before.
There are two other main protagonists, the Empress in waiting Sisine and a mysterious woman called Nilith. I won't go intotheir characters because it would be too hard to avoid spoilers.
All in all, this book was refreshingly unique and I'm eager to see what happens in book two.
Top international reviews
Caltro is an interesting protagonist, and his chapters stand out as they are told in the first person whereas everybody else is third person. He is a bit (justifiably) whiney but he is still somewhat likeable even though he is as selfish as everyone else. Nilith is the most mysterious and again somewhat likeable but the others are not and are no way sympathetic. There are two main problems I had. Firstly, not much happens. Like honestly, thinking back hardly anything actually happened that furthered the plot, and that plot is still pretty mysterious. I have some idea as to it but this feels just like that opening section of a novel. I know the last two books are complete but this was released as a separate volume and you'd expect a first book of a series to be somewhat self-contained. Secondly, even though Caltro and Nilith were kind of likeable, I still found myself not really caring about them, or any character in the book. While like-ability in a character is not necessary, to not really like any of them is a bit of a problem as it means you've not invested in what happens to them.
The world itself is great and the writing is evocative. Araxes comes to life in all its decadence and misery and the premise of the novel is great and what kept me going. The hints to the larger plot also sound good, I just wish we'd moved a bit further along. At the moment I'm unsure whether I'll continue with the series. What was good was really good but those two points I mentioned are making me very hesitant. So in summary, an intriguing world well written but lacking in plot advancement and, to me at least, unrelatable characters.
Chasing Graves is part of a trilogy he's releasing in quick succession which is a fine thing as I've just reached the end of the book and shouted out loud when I realised it. Ben's style of writing is quite unique and very witty. He develops the plot well, interlacing timelines effectively, even if I did guess (correctly!) the identity of one of the parties.
I'm off to get part 2 as I need/must find out what happens. Fab tale, Ben, just fab.
Every character is vivid and fully fleshed. I will always give a special shout out to varied and unique female characters, and I'm thrilled there are plenty to be found here. It's sad that this still needs a special mention, but sadly it often does.
I was hooked by the concept, right from the blurb. And once I started reading I knew it was going to become a favourite.
The book is often labelled as grim dark. Perhaps that's the case but though the world is bleak, it's given a warmer human touch by being quite so character driven. It's a thrill to be pulled into this world.
Oh. And it can be pretty (darkly) funny too.
If you like your fantasy to be completely different, then this is the book for you.
Biggest issue is the total lack of any real progress with the main two protagonists in this first novel.
Good enough that I’m getting the next one to see what happens but the pace of the plot needs to improve.
The characters are well thought out and well rounded. The world that he has created is amazing.
I can not wait to carry on this adventure.
Caltro Basalt is a safecracker, hired to come to Araxes for a very plush-sounding job. He's barely off the boat, when he's lying dead in the streets, his soul bound by a soultrader (i.e. stealer). Unwilling to be a slave, he continually strives to gain his freedom, often paying a tough price for his efforts. When his owner learns of his old life and skills and aims to make use of them, Caltro believes things are on the up and starts to dream of a different life (death). But then there's that talking cat.
The world the author has built is amazing. Based on Egyptian mythology (apparently, I'm no expert), the City of Countless Souls is a metropolis where the living walk amongst the dead. There is a class structure, like every city, but the shades are treated with disdain by all, often by each other. The characters are fantastic, colourful and well-rounded, with the vile soulstealer Temsa a personal favourite, although the others more than pull their weight. Amongst all this world and character building, the grand scheme of things (the plot) is barely hinted at, but a number of juicy subplots give us plenty to sink our teeth into. If you like your fantasy dark and well-written, then make sure you grab a copy of this when it comes out on December 7th. Money well spent, I say.
An emphatic 5/5 stars.