Book: Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
Series or Stand-Alone: Series, Alex Craft #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 5th, 2010
Description (From Goodreads): As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.
When I first heard of this book (no doubt somewhere on the blogosphere) it immediately caught my eye. I have read a lot of witch books recently – but Grave Witch stands on its own. While the plot was somewhat formulaic , Price brings enough excitement and creativity to the table to keep things interesting.
Alex Craft is a P.I. who also dabbles in grave magic. She can raise “shades”; unemotional versions of the former person. She is what I’ve come to determine as your traditional Urban Fantasy heroine – her circumstances are rather bleak, she’s had a rough life and is incredibly snarky. What stands out about Alex is her grave magic. While I have read plenty of books where witches interact with ghosts, I have never seen anything to this extent. It is really quite fascinating how the magic works, how she slips in and out of “grave sight”. Using her sight causes her to go temporarily blind and causes her body temp to drop substantially.
However, the real goldmines in Grave Witch are the secondary characters -especially my personal favorite character, Death. Yes, Death. Because of Alex’s slightly malfunctioning grave magic, she is the only living person in the world who can see Death (without using Grave Sight). Therefore, the two of them have an interesting bond. Death occasionally stops by for a chat and some coffee, or to reap someone’s soul in front of her. He is drop dead gorgeous (pun intended) and gives off somewhat of a romantic vibe. I personally, love this idea. I have no idea how a relationship with Death would work, so of course, I am all for it. I say go for it Price.
The other romantic interest for Alex is the cop she is working with, Falin Andrews. I loved the interactions between Falin and Alex – they play off each other nicely. But, while I liked Falin’s character – he definitely wasn’t an original concept. I think we’ve all seen the hot overbearing, un-approving sort of “frenemy” who drips with sexual attraction. Honestly, been their done that. However, Price does manage to throw in a few plot twists where Falin is concerned, so things do start to get interesting.
While some of the plotline and characters were rather formulaic, I still enjoyed Grave Witch. Price injects enough excitement, action, suspense and originality (especially with my friend, Death) that things stay interesting. The pacing was good; it never really felt drawn out or rushed. I did enjoy Grave Witch, I just wasn’t madly in love with it. I will be reading the next book, hopefully I will love it. There is definitely a great deal of potential and there are numerous places for the plotline to go, so hopefully book 2 will stray from the traditional urban fantasy a bit more.