The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen, 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2012
"Agnes's Place" by Marit Larsen
First published in Norway, this is a lovely story about home and belonging and how one person can transform our world. | Learn more
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-New York Journal of Books on The Restorer
"The beginning of Stevens' Graveyard Queen series left this reviewer breathless. The author smoothly establishes characters and forms the foundation of future story lines with an edgy and beautiful writing style. Her story is full of twists and turns, with delicious and surprising conclusions. Readers will want to force themselves to slow down and enjoy the book instead of speeding through to the end, and they'll anxiously await the next installment of this deceptively gritty series."
-RT Book Reviews on The Restorer, 4.5 stars "Top Pick"
"I love this book! Amanda Stevens' The Restorer gives the reader a fascinating character-who interacts with more fascinating characters! Ms. Stevens has managed the difficult feat of combining charm and chills." -New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author Heather Graham
"Stevens makes her MIRA debut with this taut, disturbing story. The characterizations are vivid, and it's got a lovely twist in the tail. Not for the squeamish!"
-RT Book Reviews on The Dollmaker
"Faced paced and plotted with spectacular precison and guile, this is undiluted suspense at its very finest. Nervous readers should read it in full daylight."
-RT Book Reviews on The Devil's Footprints
"Stevens' swiftly-moving, intricately plotted story has oodles of twists and chills-plus a jaw-dropping shocker of an ending. This is good stuff indeed."
-RT Book Reviews on The Whispering Room
About the Author
- ASIN : 0778314006
- Publisher : MIRA; First Time Paperback edition (February 28, 2012)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 368 pages
- Item Weight : 6.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.22 x 1 x 6.61 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Amelia Gray is a wonderful character. I really liked her. She is a grave restorer with a secret. She can see ghosts. However, she has rules that she lives by: Never acknowledge them, speak to them or let them sense your fear. Never stray too far from hallowed ground. Keep away from those who are haunted and never tempt fate. When she stumbles across the body of a young woman in a cemetery, her life is turned upside down. As danger threatens she finds herself attracted to Detective John Devlin, the policeman leading the investigation. Unfortunately, he has his own ghosts haunting him.
I have a passion for ghost stories and when this book was recommended to me by Amazon way back in 2011, I added it to my wish list. It was only in 2014 that I managed to purchase a copy but, due to my large reading list, I hadn't been able to read it until recently.
I started to read this book and didn't put it down until I had finished it. I found myself intrigued with Amelia's career choice. Restoring old cemeteries takes patience and dedication. (I know of a few cemeteries near me that could do with some TLC come to think of it). Adding to her career choice is her ability to see ghosts. This makes her life a little harder and turns her into a bit of a loner, as she is afraid of accidentally attracting the ghosts into her life and harming the ones she loves.
I enjoyed getting to know John Devlin a lot more, as he has a past that is tragic. But, I think that both Amelia and Devlin make a wonderful couple, even if he is haunted by his dead wife and daughter.
This story is a mix of mystery, thriller, police procedural, supernatural ghost story and romance. I found myself holding my breath on occasion as the mystery, suspense and danger had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It is thrilling in places and scary (think spiders and rats and dark places) in others. I also found myself on a roller coaster ride of emotion as the story unfolded. I had tears running down my face during certain scenes. However, I was a little disappointed at the ending even though I knew it was the first book in the series. There were a few loose ends not tied up and, even though it didn't end in a cliffhanger, the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, which, as a reader, I hate. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to continuing this series and reading the next book, The Kingdom, as soon as I can.
Amanda Stevens has written a wonderful start to a series. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow of the story is wonderful. Her characters seem realistic and come alive on the page. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.
Due to some scenes of violence and some gore, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love horror/mysteries/thrillers/police procedural's/supernatural ghost stories or paranormal romances. - Lynn Worton
Amelia was an interesting character who follows a strict set of rules set by her father. She knows how important they are to follow, but sometimes you have to ignore the danger and follow your heart. The pull between Devlin and Amelia is hard to ignore.
I loved the mystery along with the “spookiness” of this story. There was a mix of supernatural danger along with a real life threat that kept the pages turning. There was also a bit of a slow burn between Amelia and Devlin that didn’t quite happen, but just might in the future.
One thing that I do know is that I can’t wait to continue the Graveyard Queen series. I already have The Kingdom, which is the next book in the series. I think I might go back and read The Abandoned before I start in on the next book though. Stay tuned… 😉
Top reviews from other countries
Amanda Stevens sadly will not be joining my list of favourites and sadly this book won't either.
There were elements of the story I liked. The main character restores grave and her and her father are able to see dead people. When a body turns up at one of her sites, she is pulled into a whodunnit story with a handsome, haunted detective. The writing in parts is okay, I feel that Stevens works hard on her descriptions and there are times when it gets spooky.
HOWEVER. I also felt the story fell into cliches which the genre can now do without. The main character is gorgeous and super talented. The detective she quickly falls in love with is dangerous because of his looks and his past. Must we have women that fall so easily for a man who are times is just downright rude in your presence? Maybe it's just me. Also, I feel the author spent far more time crafting lovely names for the characters rather than giving them any depth. You can't just have one dimensional characters who serve the main leads or we won't care about any of them. Speaking of detail, I felt that the parts which touched on Haitian or Southern (was this explained?) voodoo could have been explained more.
This book needed more meat but it did have potential. Was I disappointed? Yes, because the genre is excellent but it needs to move on now. Let's not be afraid to have thinking men and woman who don't just fall for each other because its convenient to the plot.
Well, I burned through this in about 24 hours. That should tell you pretty much all you need to know. However...
Amelia. Amelia is not your usual urban fantasy/horror heroine. So far, she doesn't seem to have mad martial arts skills, she doesn't have some amazing world-destroying power, and she isn't drop-dead gorgeous (but insecure). Nor does she have a string of alpha-males panting after her. She's a pretty ordinary woman running her own business - except for her ability to see ghosts.
This ghost-seeing thing was something else I liked about this book/world. It's not what you might call a power - more like a problem. If the ghosts know you can see them, they'll be able to fasten on you and suck your life energy away. Cool stuff. So Amelia spends her life avoiding ghosts, and the people they haunt - hence the job that means she can spend a lot of time on hallowed ground, where she's safe from ghosts.
I liked Amelia for her very ordinariness; it gave the story a scarier feel, I think. There wasn't that comfortable disconnect that comes from reading about a character who's so gorgeous and powerful that you can't quite believe in them.
There's obviously some background involved that we don't get - maybe that's for a later book.
I also liked that Amelia has a trade, and we get a few little details about what cemetery restoration involves. What can I say? I like collecting odd little bits of knowledge.
The World. Interestingly, this is pretty much the real world, except for the existence of ghosts (and maybe some other stuff). But - at least as far as has been revealed - you're not tripping over werewolves and vampires everywhere you go. This is also a pleasant change (not that I've anything against werewolves and vampires, but it's nice to have a change of pace every now and then).
It's pretty obvious that there are things Amelia doesn't know about - hopefully, we'll find out more in later books.
The feel of this book is different from most urban fantasy - it's quieter and creepier, and I'd put it somewhere between urban fantasy and horror.
What I Could Have Done Without
That thing where someone says "I'm going to tell you there's a secret, but I'm not going to tell you what it is, or I'm going to be interrupted before I tell you." It's so... done to death.
I did spot who the murderer was quite early on - although not why.
A solid four-star read; it only doesn't get five stars because it didn't have that extra special sort of something. However, I'm definitely going to read the others in the series, and can recommend this unreservedly for anyone who wants UF/horror that works on the creep-factor rather than just splashing blood about.
As well as having a superb murder mystery plot which I couldn't work out it was also very educational. The author did a great job of setting the scene and describing Charleston, so much so that I looked up picture of the town and have put it on my list as one of the places I would love to visit. I found it extremely interesting to read about the gravestones and the symbolism behind them. I also learnt two new fantastic words `taphophile' which means cemetery enthusiast and `Boo Hag' which is a mythical energy sucking creature from the folklore of Gullah culture.
The book is quite slow paced which suited the pace of the story well but I would have liked it to have been a bit faster. Also as I tend to find with lots of books that are slow paced the big ending was rushed and that is why I'm not giving this book full marks.
There is a potential love interest in the form of the detective Devlin. I know this has put some people off as Amelia keeps making comment on her feelings towards Devlin. However it didn't bother me at all.
Throughout the book lots of questions are raised about Amelia and her father, we are given some clues and snippets but we don't get any answers. I'm hoping that changes in the following books.
I highly recommend this book. It is spooky, interesting and an enjoyable read. I'm definitely going to carry on with this series and I have already ordered books 2 and 3. I give The Restorer 4 stars.
Amelia is a solitary character, her ability hasn't made it easy for her to have a normal life and she spends much of her time alone. It's a fairly lonely life but she doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself and instead immerses herself in her work and in her blog. She has very strict rules that she knows she must live by if she doesn't want the ghosts to pay any attention to her. These aren't your harmless ghosts who just float around looking scary - they are actually more like parasites and will latch on to people to siphon off their life energy so it is very important not to be noticed by them. When Devlin appears on the scene she is immediately drawn to him but she knows she should avoid him and the two ghosts who are never far away from him. In fact her life could depend on keeping away from him but that is easier than it seems when she is drawn deeper and deeper into the murder investigation.
Devlin is an interesting hero to the story, he is very secretive and we only learn a limited amount about what happened in his past so I don't feel like I know him well enough to be attracted to him. However, I do find him intriguing and am curious to find out more about him as the series continues. I'm glad that the story wasn't overtaken by romance, there are plenty of hints at a possible future entanglement between Amelia and Devlin and at one point I was sure things were going to get serious already but we have been left hanging which I have to admit is something I liked. I love a bit of will they / won't they potential in my urban fantasy series!
The Restorer is both a murder mystery and a chilling ghost story and the graveyard setting just adds to the creepy gothic atmosphere. I loved Amanda Stevens writing style, her descriptions are fantastic and I was able to picture the graveyard and headstones perfectly. She has obviously done her research and I found the information about symbols used around cemeteries was fascinating. We are left with a lot of unanswered questions but this was still a fantastic start to the Graveyard Queen series and I can't wait to read the next book!