I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Ace on April 2, 2019
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Grave Visions, Grave Ransom, Grave Destiny
Sixth in the Alex Kraft paranormal fantasy series and revolving around a grave witch who speaks to the dead in Nekros City, Texas, part of a territory that appeared after the Magical Awakening 70 years ago.
The story uses first-person protagonist point-of-view from Alex’s perspective, so everything is only what she experiences: The parties, dressing to kill, chases, murders, deceptions, seductions, contagion, politics, distrust (oops, I already said “politics”), and greater knowledge of how to use her planeweaving skills.
Hoo, boy, does this girl take it up a notch or what!
It’s a blend of action and character, as Alex struggles to determine who killed a Shadow and a Winter fae, who stands to gain from it, and how to survive the different fae courts without being murdered herself. I have to wonder why Price didn’t slip in more of Alex’s vulnerabilities. Oh, there were a few, but the emphasis was so low-key, if someone were reading this story out of context of the rest of the series, they’d never see beneath it. Falin was more stereotypical of the jealous boyfriend while Dugan was, well, there. Price didn’t do much to develop his character other than for us to see him as honorable if ambitious.
There’s an interesting story that seems quite plausible as to the High Court and why the seelie and unseelie courts no longer exist. Unfortunately, Faerie is all about balance. Part of it would be achieved by what the Light Queen reveals to Alex…jesus… Yep, just call me the negotiable pawn…
I like Price’s take on legal agreements in her magic world, from the right to open roads to the Sanctuary of Artisans.
Hmm, Price claims that Alex was betrothed to Dugan at birth, but her father suggested the betrothal in Grave Visions, 4.
It’s a blend of prose depending upon whether it’s the ambling progression of the story or someone is speaking, from Alex’s straightforward approach, Falin’s attempts to straddle that line, Dugan’s “somewhat” straight talk, and then there’s the twisty ways of the fae and their rulers. Riddle me this and keep yourself safe!
Tongues of the Dead’s reputation is trashed and work is thin after events in Grave Ransom, 5.
Still, Alex is of two minds when Prince Dugan wants to engage her services…in Faerie where her grave powers don’t work. It’s the gravity of the murders (and Falin’s promise of backup) that changes her mind, for the courts are on the verge of war.
Alex Kraft is a grave witch and planeweaver who runs a private investigation agency, Tongues of the Dead, with Rianna McBride, a fellow grave witch and her best friend. PC is Alex’s dog.
Her father, George Caine, is a fae in hiding from the local court; a prominent member in mortal government; and, a member of the Humans First Party, a hate group against fae and witches. He’s also the father who excommunicated his daughter.
Death is a soul collector who had loved Alex, and she him. The Mender, a telepath, is the leader of the soul collectors and very strict to whom Alex owes a debt. He’s one sneaky guy!
Detective Falin Andrews is in charge of the Fae Investigation Bureau (FIB) in the mortal realm where his love for Alex is impossible, because he’s also the Winter Queen’s bloody hands, her lover, and her knight. Nori is an FIB agent and second-in-command.
…showed up in Grave Visions. Alex’s housemates include Caleb, a green man; Holly is a human addicted to Faerie food as well as the assistant district attorney, and she’s dating Caleb; Icelynne is a ghost; and, Mrs B is a brownie who manages the office and takes care of the castle.
Nekros City is…
…the mortal city where Alex lives, a territory that unfolded between Georgia and Alabama after the Magical Awakening occurred. Tamara is the lead medical examiner, a charm witch, and one of Alex’s best friends. The Eternal Bloom is a fae bar as well as a door into Faerie.
…once one court and is now divided into the central high court and six other courts: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are the seasonal courts while Shadow and Light are unaffiliated.
The Shadow Court…
…is tied to dreams, nightmares, and secrets. Prince Dugan is the heir to the throne of the Shadow Court. And betrothed to Alex (Grave Visions). King Nandin rules Shadow; he’s also Alex’s great-granduncle several times removed. Serri is close to the king. Kordon is a goblin who was a masterful shadow-crafter and has been a friend to Dugan for years.
The Light Court is…
…ruled by the Queen of Light, Winter’s sister. Her son, Ryese, was banished from Winter in Grave Visions. Teaghan is an assassin formerly with the Shadow Court and an ex-lover of Dugan’s.
The Winter Court is…
…ruled by the insane Winter Queen. Maeve and Lyell are members of the queen’s council. Jurin and Stiofan Greenmeadows (a snarky jerk who thinks he’s all that) are both members of the Winter Court. Stiofan had once been married to Lunabella Blossommist.
The Summer Court is…
…split between the lecherous Summer King and the straitlaced Summer Queen.
The Autumn Court is…
…ruled by the Harvest King.
The High Court has not…
…been seen or heard from in centuries. The only two other planeweavers are said to be part of his court.
Sleagh Maith is the noble line of Faerie. Basmoarte is an always-fatal contagious infection that spreads from magic to magic. It’s also the disease that killed Alex’s mother. The Magical Awakening occurred 70 years ago when the fae announced to the world that they exist.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a range of pale grays. The palest is the background with a pale purple in the scrolls that frame the edges of the upper third and more scrollwork framing the series information to the right of Alex’s shoulders. An info blurb is at the very top in a deep purple. The author’s name is in a grayish purple. Beneath that is Alex holding her knife and wearing a slinky pale purple dress with intricate trim on the upper bodice, her pale blonde hair swirling in the breeze. A testimonial is to the right of Alex and below the series information in the same purple. The title is in white across Alex’s lower half. Behind her are the tombstones in a snowy landscape.
The title is a play on Alex’s abilities and her Fate, and it’s a Grave Destiny.