The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.
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.
Review: 5 Stars
Gravemaidens went on my wish list the second that I saw its cover. I had my fingers crossed hoping that I could get an advanced review copy. When I did I had the hardest time waiting until closer to publication to actually read it. After many of my most anticipated releases of the second half of 2019 wound up disappointing me I was so pleased when Gravemaidens turned out to be an incredible read. I am so grateful to be on Kelly’s street team and to be a part of this book’s release because It was amazing and I would love to be the person to introduce this book to someone.
Hope was a wonderful, terrible thing. It made you long for things you had no possibility of gaining.
The world building was incredibly well done. The vivid descriptions brought this rich world to life, making it easy to visualize every scene of the story without bogging down the pace of the plot. I also loved how throughout the story the reader saw how many of the people viewed the Sacred Maiden ritual as such a great honor. It truly showed just how much faith they had in their religion. I was truly amazed at how much research must have gone into this novel. In this book the citizens worshiped Enlil, who was a god worshiped by ancient Sumerians and much of the culture in this book seemed to be influenced by Sumerian culture as well. The main character Kammani was a healer and the herbal healing practices seemed well researched and were vividly described as well. These vivid descriptions of culture and healing practices really helped make the book feel realistic.
“I have plans to be as great of an A-zu as Abum was. And a woman cannot do everything she wants.”
The characters had me incredibly invested in this story and its plot. Gravemaidens was an emotional roller coaster and I was rooting for Kammani every step of the way, even when I wanted to shake her for her choices. Kammani had to grow up fast and take responsibility for her family at a young age. She could be quite cynical, but she was also incredibly determined and she would do absolutely anything to save her sister Nanaea. In comparison Nanaea seemed so young and naive. Nanaea had a taste for the finer things and she clearly had no clue just how much Kammani sacrificed for her on a daily basis. The story of these two sisters got me by the heart strings as Kammani’s loyalty and love for Nanaea had no bounds.
If I could picture my future exactly as I wished, I’d be a healer, living alone or with a man who understood I didn’t want a brood of children to take care of. Or, worse, babies who died or girls who were put to death on a whim. Not I. I’d take care of all the people of Alu instead. I’d work throughout the city setting broken legs, healing breathing ailments, and tearing the sick right out of the Boatman’s arms.
I had the hardest time setting this book down. I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading and got up at 6 a.m. so that I could fit in a bit more of the book before work. The plot was so intense at times and the world building was so rich, but it was the characters that truly got my heart and made this story so incredible. I am so happy that this is going to be a series, even though it felt like it was a stand alone story. I can’t wait to return to this world and these sisters again.
The ache to melt into him was overpowering. To give in to the strength of his arms and to be a girl again for one second, not someone who had to bear the weight of her family on her shoulders. The need for it was so strong, I could feel my resolve giving way.
Check out all these amazing pre-order goodies! Gravemaidens comes out on October 29th so get your pre-order in ASAP if you want some of these amazing goodies!! For more info on how to get some amazing swag check out Kelly’s website here!