Series: Gravemaidens #1
Author: Kelly Coon
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My Review: I was promised a tale about two sisters and a dark tradition and what I got was a ya fantasy novel full of tropes I don’t love and two sisters who don’t get along and are not the brightest crayons in the box. I was very disappointed in this book. I initially loved the Egyptian vibes but it never got beyond a surface feeling. The world building was seriously lacking, leaving me with little sense of the setting beyond a palace. The love interest in the story was fine, but the main characters was so wishy washy about it that I got annoyed. I did love the best friend though, and honestly her sass and tenacity would have probably made her a better main character. The mystery could have been a great one but its obvious really early what’s going on and whose behind it.
I am usually fairly vague in my reviews because I don’t want to spoil books for anyone but there are a few specific things in this book that bothered me. The Lugal’s daughter doesn’t seem to be very distraught throughout most of the story. I mean, her dad is dying a horrible death and although she helps out once, for the most part she’s busy attending celebrations for the Sacred Maidens and dragging the healer along with her. Speaking of this great healer, I found it very odd that she didn’t recognize the poisoning after finding a flower that made her fingers tingle. COME ON, even a non-healer would think twice about that. I felt like the author made her conveniently idiotic when it would move the plot along.
Overall, I didn’t like this book and was annoyed half the time. The writing wasn’t bad and the author has potential but it isn’t found in this book.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All opinions are my own.*