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Oct 6, 2019

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
October 29 2019 from Delacorte Press/Random House
416 pages
eGalley provided via NetGalley, thank you!

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.

This is a YA fantasy romance read with a bit of a suspense factor thrown in. The essence of the story is to have Kammani save her sister from a fate worse than death: death via poison to fulfill a sacrifice so the old ruler can go to his grave with a fair maiden. Seen as an honor, Kammani's sister does not appreciate all the work Kammani is trying to do to save her sister from this fate. Kammani is a great character to root for, where I was ready to have her sister sacrificed and be done with it. Instead, we follow Kammani's tireless journey to the palace to save the ailing ruler and her own family at the same time. There are several characters to help build the story with plenty of no-gooders to throw a wrench in the best laid plans. There is a small romance plot that takes a sad back burner to the problem on hand.

Not my typical read but I am enjoying the recent YA fantasy style reads that I have been choosing lately. I am glad to have read this one as it is an authentically told story that held my attention throughout. But seeing as this is a duology I am not sure that is really necessary, though I will find out when that one comes out.

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