Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Restorer
Series: The Graveyard Queen, #1
Genres/Themes: urban fantasy, murder mystery, ghosts, romance-ish
Excerpt: here
Author: Amanda Stevens

Quick Take:
A highly atmospheric, chilling novel. I absolutely loved it! It might give you a fright, but it's well worth the thrill.
Book Description (via author site):
     My name is Amelia Gray.  I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts.  In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father.  But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.     It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore.  The clues to the killer--and to his other victims--like in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret.  Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy.  To warn him would be to invite them into my life.  I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.
Freaking A, man. What an awesome book this is!
I must confess that, as a scaredy cat and ghost-story wimp, I was hesitant at first to read Amanda Stevens's trilogy opener. The book description sounded very intriguing, but it was obviously meant to give the potential reader a taste of the eerie setting and chilling theme of the full novel. Boy, am I glad I got past that hesitancy. I was thoroughly creeped out whilst reading this tale, but more importantly, I was exhilarated.

So let's start with that emotion. Yes, this book is creepy; the author is quite skilled at creating atmosphere. Stevens's writing style is resonant, engaging, and very easy to fall into. The language is crisp and easily accessible--not simplistic--and yet descriptions are vivid, crafting a clear visual and understanding of both the characters and the settings. I'd imagine that's precisely what one would want when attempting to scare the pants off of someone. ^_^

It's perhaps good that the mechanics of the language used does not confound, because this is indeed a dense book. There are numerous details that are integral to the storyline, and the main mystery is quite multilayered. In fact, there are elements in play that suggest the author is focused on the bigger, series-wide picture at all times. In that regard, this story's events solve mysteries, but titillate even more. The narrative barely scratches the surface of the main characters' struggles and inner scars. Protagonist Amelia Gray is one complex individual; amiable as far as protagonists go, but clearly haunted (literally and figuratively). That she finds herself drawn to an equally haunted man will provide a lot of arresting emotional material in upcoming installments.

If you can manage a highly atmospheric, spooky and complex book that absolutely must be read as part of a series arc, you need to pick up The Restorer. This will be a standout series, just you wait n see! ^_^

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
"I REALLY liked it!"


  1. I like UF, mysteries..well sometimes, romance'ish, well all in all it sounds like a good mix of genres :D

  2. Ohhh I think you'll really like this one. Yup yup yup, you will!

  3. This one seems to be pretty good and I love the sound of the setting.


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