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Friday, March 23, 2012

Early Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens


Title: The Kingdom
Author: Amanda Stevens
Series: The Graveyard Queen, book 2
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town. My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here. Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.”

The Kingdom is the second book in The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens.

The Kingdom starts couple of weeks after events in The Restorer (first book). Amelia has broken every one of the four rules her father taught her, rules she needed to follow for her survival.

1. Never acknowledge the dead.
2. Never stray far from hallowed ground.
3. Never associate with those who are haunted.
4. Never, ever tempt fate. 

Now she needs to put distance between her and Devlin, before something more serious happens.
When Amelia receives an offer to renovate Thorngate Cemetery in the town of Asher Falls, South Carolina, she doesn’t think it twice and accepts. Get away from Charleston is just what she needs right now. Packing her bags she leaves immediately to work on her new commission.
Strange things starts to happen as soon as Amelia is on her way; on the ferry that will take her to Asher Falls she is not sure but she thinks she has seen a ghost over the water. Minutes later she meets the mysterious Thane Asher, heir to the Asher family, family that rules and owns half the town of Asher Falls. Thane tells her about the original Thorngate cemetery, the one that was flooded to make way for the Asher Reservoir, that same reservoir they are crossing, the one the locals call Bell Lake.
He hesitated, his gaze still on the water. “If you look for this basin on any South Carolina map, you’ll find the Asher Reservoir. But around here, we call it Bell Lake.” 
“Why?”  
“In the old days, coffins were equipped with a warning system-a chain attached to a bell on the grave in case of premature burial. They say at night, when the mist rolls in, you can hear those bells.” He glanced over the railing. “The dead down there don’t want to be forgotten… ever again.”
After arriving to Asher Falls and meeting her contact she realizes there is more to this commission that just the restoration of the cemetery. Asher Falls is a ghost town, with very weird residents. But what is weirder than all is that Amelia feels a connection to the town, something she had never felt before, a strange feeling she can’t explain. And when even stranger things starts to happen Amelia has two options, stay put and discover what is what Asher Falls and its residents are hiding or pack her bags and leave before it's too late.

The Kingdom surpassed all my expectations, since the moment I pick it up I couldn’t put it down until I reach its last word and after that I wanted more. Mrs. Stevens’ uncanny writing is so vivid and realistic than even though I don’t scare easily I started to hear weird noises at home, it didn’t help I read until wee hours of the night, as I said before I couldn’t put down this book. Yes, it’s that good!

Amelia is such a great character; she is determined, strong, caring and smart, even when the world she knew shattered in pieces she finds the strength to carry on. I suffer with her and more than once I wanted her to leave Asher Falls behind. At the end I was very happy she stayed because she discovered things about herself she wouldn’t have discovered any other way. Things that left me open mouthed in awe.

Devlin is not physically present in this installment; he is more like a memory of Amelia’s past, a memory she can’t seem to forget.

Thane serves as a distraction not only for Amelia but for us too. He is a character with which I had an ambivalent relationship, I doubted him, I liked him, I didn’t like him, I cared for him and at the end… I will let that for you to discover.   

The drama and mystery is one that will have you biting your nails and trying to read faster and faster, at the same time you will have to stop many times to listen for weird noises or to look for shadows that weren’t there. Yes, it’s this kind of creepy, but a really good creepy, one that will leave you addicted and wanting for more.

The world Mrs. Stevens has created in her series and in The Kingdom, is unique and amazing in a haunting kind of way. One, that days later after finishing the book you will still remember with vivid detail. A world you will want all your friends and family to experience for themselves.  

The end wasn’t a throw-the-book-to-the-wall-cliffhanger, but one that will leave you dying to get your hands on the next installment of this series the Prophet, which will be release in April 24th, 2012.

The Kingdom is one of my favorite reads of this year and I’m sure it’ll be on my top 10 list at the end of the year. I recommend this book to all of you, but especially to those who love modern gothics, paranormal fiction or a good mystery.

My Verdict: 5 paws
 


Other books in the series
The Abandoned
The Restorer
The Kingdom (3/27/2012)
The Prophet (4/24/2012)

Other reviews Goodreads

10 comments:

  1. It was good wasn't it?? Great review! Gah, I love this series and April 24th cannot come fast enough!!! smiles....

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    1. Yes! I'm really looking forward to The Prophet.

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  2. Awesome review! I'm so glad your feelings are the same like me. It"s a really great series. Now I wonder how I can wait the fourth. so difficult.

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  3. Sounds good :D I know I dled a freebie by her..hm, was it a prequel. Well something and I should read it

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the prequel was free for a while, I don't know if it's still free. You have to read them, these books are great!

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    2. I love 5 stars reviews from you, this is going right now on my TBR (the series) . I got to check and see if the first book is out on audio.
      I came to read your review for Sins of Angels, but I didn't find it, instead I found this.
      Thanks!
      Great job as always!

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  4. Oh yes! the first book is on audio, and it has been on my wish list forever.. I getting right now.

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    Replies
    1. Let me know what you think of it. I hope you like it as much as I did. ;)

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  5. Great review - I totally and completely agree!!

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