Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, and that makes her a dangerous enemy for anyone with something to hide. . . .
Alex is still trying to come to terms with her changing powers and her growing ties to Faerie when a case she’d rather avoid falls right into her lap. A fae prince desperately needs Alex to investigate a politically sensitive murder. She reluctantly agrees to the case, taking FIB agent Falin Andrews along as her backup.
But as Alex begins to delve into the mystery, she realizes that the intricate web of alliances and intrigue in the Faerie courts is strained to its limits. War is about to break out, one that threatens to spill over into the mortal realm. This murder is tied right to the center of centuries-old arcane unrest, and if Alex isn’t careful she may follow the twisting path ahead of her right into her grave end.
A lot of times when I read a book in a series, I gauge exactly how well the author manages to keep a new reader to the series engaged. The Alex Craft Books are new to me so this was the perfect opportunity. As I discovered, Kalayna Price does a fantastic job of organically providing details of past information into the novel without slowing down the pace or the action of the novel. Everything is told within the context of the novel and within a few pages, the reader knows a lot about the character and the world.
I liked the main character Alex Craft right away. She’s smart, brave, and she tries to solve problems using her magic or her brain instead of with brute force. And despite the secondary characters that accompany her in the novel, she is the protagonist and it is she who shines in the story, not the men. Best of all, none of the characters are black and white. Alex, in particular, makes mistakes, doesn’t know everything about Fairy or even her own powers, but she learns and grows, becoming stronger throughout the novel. And even with all her powers, she isn’t able to solve things neatly, there are loose ends and nothing is simple.
The world is intricate and detailed with a great deal of intrigue and a clever spin on Fairy. The different courts, especially Winter, are well thought-out and still include elements from folklore. Kalayna Price’s attention to detail follows through in the powers and abilities of each character and in the investigation surrounding the death of the two fey in the story as well as the mystery over the disease plaguing the main character, Alex Craft.
Beyond the main character, the secondary characters are also engaging and help the story flow. In the story, she is accompanied by the Winter Knight, Falin Andrews and the Prince of the Shadow Court, Dugan. Both assist Alex as she attempts to solve the intrigues and plots surrounding the murder. The plot is captivating and full of surprises, especially the ending which leads to a creative solution to the story but also surprises surrounding the characters and their place in Fairy.
The only negative in the story is that the story feels like it ends too quickly. There is a lot of action and Alex spends time trying to solve the various intrigues in the story but when we get to the end of the story, everything wraps us fast. It isn’t neat or tidy which is realistic but I wanted more interactions between Alex and the antagonists in the novel. It felt anticlimactic. I do like that there are various threads that will lead to more novels.
Overall, the novel was entertaining, well-paced, and the characters were smart and different from the normal urban fantasy novel. I especially love the romantic overtones in the story. If you like romantic urban fantasy or have read the other Alex Craft novels, you will love this book and will want to read it immediately. If you want to know more, check out Kalayna Price’s website.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. ~~ Andrea Rittschof
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