- Paperback: 362 pages
- Publisher: Rocket Surgery Books; First Edition edition (June 22, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0985597100
- ISBN-13: 978-0985597108
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Graves' End: A Magical Thriller Paperback – June 22, 2012
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"Masterfully bending the constraints of time and reality, Traver twists everything into a plot that feels both brand-new and old-fashioned in a nearly perfect blend." -Jessica Barton, NERDIST.com
"The fantasy world here feels alive and breathing, fully formed and beautifully fleshed out. ... Graves' End was a way fun read. It moves well, it's constantly hitting all the right notes of fantastical and mysterious discovery, but it's light-hearted and often really funny. Recommended."
--Phil Hornshaw, co-author of So You Created A Wormhole: The Time-Traveler's Guide To Time Travel
"It's a magical thriller set in Los Angeles, its magic deriving from Mexican mythology and mysticism, and it has one of the most touching and arresting first chapters I've ever read in a fantasy novel."
--Alan Brennert, bestselling author of Honolulu, Moloka'i, Time & Chance Award-winning writer for LA Law, The Twilight Zone, DC Comics
About the Author
Sean Patrick Traver writes about witches & weirdness in the City of Angels. Check out his world at www.SeanPatrickTraver.com
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The story is divided into various parts, each part having a retrospective which dates backward about a century and which is utilized to assist the reader in understanding where / what either Dexter Graves or Tomas Delgado have been / done. There are some awkwardly read sentences and a few minor grammar issues, but they do nothing to detract from the material.
Part 1 - Halloween Night (Oct 31)
Camilla Flores is commissioned by one Ingrid Redstone to find what is left of her `brother' at his last known location. In searching the premises she finds a lighter, an old Navy insignia embossed lighter. At this point we are also introduced to Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec king of the dead and his enforcers the Tzitzimime (agglomerations of bugs which ultimately form an ant, a mantis and a wasp). The hunt for Lia and her silent ghostly partner (who oft times uses a cats body to harbor his being), Black Tom (surname: Delgado).
Retrospective 1 (1950)
We meet a fleshly composed Dexter Graves. Having also been commissioned by Ingrid to find Michael Caradura (Mickey Hardface), he succeeds in finding his location, but is mysteriously and sorrowfully murdered by Ingrid as she ballistically removes his cortex from the front side of his head.
Part 2 - All Saints Day (Nov 1)
Dexter returns as an animated corpse (just a skeleton, really) and finds Lia through the beckoning of his long lost lighter. He is soon trapped by Lia, magically, when he loses his cool and becomes a bit unpredictable. We are also introduced to two of Mictlantecuhtli's Greek pets - Nyx, the goddess of night and Lyssa, the goddess of madness. Mictlantecuhtli has essentially usurped all other after life deities as the supreme, hence his ability to command the gods / goddesses of other cultures. In this segment we see a lot of rudimentary magic use: Pi-trails, incandescent eyes and even some technomancing.
Retrospective 2 (1910)
This segment offers a history of `the hole in the sky' from the perspective of Tomas Delgado, the destruction of the great tree and the subsequent building of a giant skyscraper where the tree used to be. This is reportedly for Mictlantecuhtli's girlfriend, the Red Witch... Ingrid Redstone.
Part 3 - All Souls Day, Morning (Nov 2)
The battle rages on. Mictlantecuhtli sends his hit men, Tzitzimime, Lyssa and Nyx to find Black Tom, Lia, Dexter, Hannah and whomever else they might be involved with. Of most interest is the trapping of Nyx as Lia uses her elemental magic to plant a tree through her head, staking her to the ground and rendering her influential to the fight.
Retrospective 3 (1910)
Delgado is to cross the barrier to Mictlan and assume Mictlantecuhtli's role while he then assumes his flesh and walks the earth - something he has never been able to do. Delgado bails on the deal by sending his soul out to a body, any body, any vessel so as to avoid entrapment in Mictlan. There is also further elaboration upon the construction of the skyscraper and Ingrid's abilities.
Part 4 - All Souls Day, Afternoon
We meet a bunch of ancillary characters with associations to Lia. And Tom's cat body is kidnapped and is hexed so that he can't re-enter it to assist.
Retrospective 4 (1910)
Further elaboration upon the plot-point started in Retrospective 3.
Part 5 - Dia de Los Muertos
In this final segment we encounter some new characters - the Blackdogs, an elite police force beckoned to help Lia. This is also the closing scenes of the battle for earth's plane. There are multiple deaths, most of the heroic and at least one that's very graphic and not so much heroic. We also see that Ingrid begins to empathize with Lia and the two hatch a plan to shut down Mictlantecuhtli. Amongst other revelations is the fact that Dexter is the offspring of Ingrid and Mictlantecuhtli, making him at least a demi-god. Having this information, Graves commands the denizens of Mictlan to walk the earth (as they're able because it's still November 2). In the vigorous swell of eagerness Mictlantecuhtli is swept through the chamber doors and out into the real world, Ingrid usurps him as ruler and will `deal with him later'. Ends somewhat awkwardly with Lia and Dexter hooking up. But since she's about 25 and he, physically, 35, it's not too weird.
A dead man returns to life, except he's a walking skeleton, literally, but he doesn't know why he's up and walking. He was killed after being hired to help a 'dame in distress' and as all fans of noir know those things never turn out well. After he awakens from the big sleep he meets up with the protagonist a young Wiccan and her boss and things only get stranger from there.
I had some questions, when I finished the book, about things that happened (sorry no spoilers) and I'm happy to say Traver will be dealing with those in a forthcoming sequel.
So get this book now (it seems it was also published in paperback), and be ready for the next installment.
What's not to like about ghosts, witches, reanimated skeletons, and gods run amuck?
There were some very complicated actions going on and the author described them so that they were perfectly understandable to the reader.
The introductory chapters were great, then the major characters seemed to disappear for awhile.
I stopped reading at this point, I think there was some unpleasantness about a cat, and I'm a chicken when it comes to hurting cats.
But I came back to the book. It has a distinctive cover, so I was able to find it easily on my kindle.
And I'm very glad I did, because the story took off again and didn't stop until the end.
Even when it was over, fireworks were still going off in my head.
Masterful story, masterful handling of flashbacks, teriffic and well done.
Highly recommend. 5 stars.
The book follows the story of Lia, a witch living in modern day LA, who gets mixed up with Dexter Grave, a skeleton visiting from 1950. Along with Lia extremely unusual cat, they battle bug monsters, cast spells and turn night to day, all in the hopes of thwarting the King of Death's malevolent plans.
If that sounds like a busy and convoluted plot, it assuredly is. But it's also loads of fun and filled with quirky characters. Lia is sweet and deceptively fierce. Dexter has a heart if gold and balls of solid brass. Lia's father/daughter relationship with Tom is adorable.
I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys The Dresden Files.