The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.
In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.
When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.
But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.
Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House
Pub Date: October 29, 2019
Formats: Hardback, Ebook, Audiobook
[The purchase links above are Affiliated links, if you should purchase this book using one of those links then I will receive a small bit of money, but, this will cost nothing to you]
I finished my buddy read way quicker than I expected, I blame the author Kelly Coon for this. I was able to read the first eight chapters and have some semblance of self-control but after that, it was like I was gorging myself on cakes from the faerie realm, I could not put the book down.
Kammani was a really endearing protagonist, she had her faults, her passions, and the love for her family with her love of healing. And like any good big sister, she can be somewhat annoying and overbearing on her younger sister and brother.
Kammani wants to follow in the footsteps of her father, but the problem with that is that her Father has been just as tragically affected as the rest of the family and it has changed him.
I love that the characters were so real and flawed, no one was above making mistakes. There were so many moments where I was just holding my breath though because this is not only a great work of YA fantasy, it’s also got a murder mystery, AND YOU ALL KNOW HOW I LOVE MURDER MYSTERIES!
This is mostly the question I was screeching through the novel.
Nanaea reminded me of how infuriating it can be to have sisters and though Kammani doesn’t always make the right choices, she makes them all out of love for Nanaea and her family. I loved getting to know more about both Nanaea and Kammani and the political intrigue in the palace made my dark little heart so happy! Not to mention the relationships that Kammani develops, the new friendships, well, it’s great and you really cheer on most of the characters, and there are times you’re just not sure who Kammani should trust.
The fact that we’re not done with these characters is brilliant, the ending certainly had me lamenting the fact that I’ll have to wait to see what happens next.
Coon delightfully colors this vibrant world the characters live in, Alu just seems to come to life and jump right off the pages. She also doesn’t get too focused on small details, driving the plot and characters forward. \she also made me constantly hungry…seriously, where’s a damn honeycake when you need it??
Dagan was also a cute little cinnamon roll that I just wanted to protect half the time,m but the fact that he was always respectful of Kammani’s boundaries really made him such a great character, even when he thinks he’s pushed himself too far across a line, he’s quick to apologize and make amends as best he can.
[Disclosure: Nasu was my favorite, no regrets.]
I preordered this book because I mean, why wouldn’t I with a title like ‘Gravemaidens?’ But I’m super glad I did because I’ll be rereading this closer to the time of the second book’s release.
SO on that note, four massive cups of coffee from me for this amazing debut novel. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion!
About the Author
Kelly Coon is a young adult author represented by Kari Sutherland of Bradford Lit, an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, and the author of two test prep guides, ACT STRATEGY SMART and ACE THE ACT.
Kelly was the test prep expert for About.com for seven years, and has been published with both Scholastic and MSN in the education arena. In the parenting realm, Kelly has been published in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, ParentMap, Folks, and others sites, regaling tales of life in the trenches with her three boys. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she’s living near Tampa with her sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens is her debut novel.