Book Review: Grave War by Kalayna Price

Posted April 30, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

by Kalayna Price
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Romance
Published by Ace Books Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves
Also by this author: Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Grave Visions, Grave Ransom, Grave Destiny, Grave Destiny

Seventh and last in the Alex Craft paranormal fantasy romance series and revolving around Alex, one of the few grave witches.

My Take

It’s a story of compassion and consideration. Of acceptance. All it takes is struggle, betrayal, torture, and damage. All kinds of damage.

Yeah, you’d be right in thinking that this means action. Lots and lots of it. Right along with a number of surprises, both good, bad, and scary.

Part of Alex’s character arc has been learning that she’s actually a fae that her father had disguised. And in Grave War we learn just why Daddy Dearest did it.

In each story we’ve learned a little bit more about how the fae territories move and grow (or shrink) and how pledging to a court affects independent fae. We learn all of this through first person protagonist point-of-view from Alex’s perspective.

That mention of Disney being its own space was too funny.

More reveals include how the FIB is viewed by other law enforcement agencies as well as the fae themselves. I can kind of understand that attitude because FIB agents aren’t that interested in the small stuff. They just fluff it off. That instance with Jenny Greenteeth back in Grave Visions, 4, is a good example. It’s also a reflection of how “our” own world’s law enforcements work together, unwillingly. Hmmm, maybe we need an Alex?

And Alex discovers the truth of the FIB, of herself, of her true family.

The Story

Politics, politics, politics…that winter court is pushing hard for Falin to take a consort.

A bomb. Now the door to Faerie is gone. With it, the magic in North America will dry up…no fae will be able to survive. And Faerie itself is fracturing.

The Characters

Alexis “Alex” Craft is a grave witch who can raise the shades of the dead via her private investigation business, Tongues for the Dead, as well as a planeweaver who can pull various realities together. Now she’s the special-agent-in-charge of the Fae Investigation Bureau. PC is her Chinese Crested dog. Casey Caine is her “perfect” sister. Bradley is their missing older brother.

Alex’s roommates in her castle (in Caleb’s backyard) include Rianna McBride, Alex’s best friend, a grave witch, and a changeling, who is her business partner. Desmond is a barghest and Rianna’s constant companion. Addicted to fairyfood, Holly, another friend, a fire witch, and the assistant district attorney, is dating Caleb, an independent green man, wardsmith, artist…and Alex’s landlord…okay, maybe not anymore. But they do live in Alex’s castle. Roy Pearson is the ghost who works as Alex’s self-appointed sidekick… Roy is dating Icelynne, a ghost who had been a handmaiden to the Winter queen (Grave Visions, 4); they both live in the castle. Ms B is the brownie who takes care of the castle and the office.

Death is a soul collector with whom Alex has been in love for years. Other soul collectors include “Raver” and the Mender.

Nekros City is…
…a sort of newly unfolded space that “arrived” seventy years ago during the Magical Awakening and is situated between Georgia and Alabama. Its governor, a Sleagh Maith fae in hiding and a member of the Humans First Party as well as Alex’s father, is George Caine — and an emissary of the High King. James is his driver. Henry is his officious, snotty aide.

The pregnant Tamara, the chief medical examiner, is on bed rest. Ethan is her husband. Captain Oliver is with the Arson Bomb Squad. Lieutenant Martinez is the task leader with Anti-Black Magic Unit (ABMU); her team includes Halloway and Callen.

This Fae Investigation Bureau (FIB) is…
…the earth-based fae version of the FBI that belongs to Winter. Agent Nori hates Alex but is assigned to guide Alex. More agents include Tem who’ll be Alex’s bodyguard, Bleek, Mabel is also a healer, Lea, and Moor who is a satyr. Hilda Larine is the local representative for the Office of Ambassador of Fae and Human Relations.

Faerie
The High King rules all of Faerie and its courts of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter and Shadow and Light. Falin Andrews is now the Faerie king…of Winter. No longer the Winter Queen’s Winter Knight. The queen’s former advisors include Maeve and Lyell.

Prince Dugan is heir to the Shadow realm and sort of un-betrothed to Alex. Nandin is the king of Shadows and Alex’s greats-uncle. Ciara is a shadow cat. Nandin has a planebender. The tricksy Kyran is the self-declared ruler of the Court of Nightmares and the son of Nandin.

Ryese, the Winter queen’s nephew, is the son of the Queen of Light. Jenny Greenteeth hates Alex. Blayne had been the Light queen’s consort when Ryese was born. The King and Queen of Summer hate each other.

The Eternal Bloom is a fae bar; half is for the fae and the other half is for the tourists. It also holds one of the few doors to Faerie. Lusa Duncan is the star reporter for Witch Watch. An amaranthine tree is sacred and heralds a door to Faerie. A small town in Alaska and a fae bar in Terraville also blew up. A Sleagh Maith is a fae noble, and they have terrible reputations. Theodore Coleman had been a vice-presidential hopeful…and a horror in hiding (Grave Witch, 1). The Organization of Magically Inclined Humans (OMIH) appears to be a policing organization of witches. Humans First is an antiwitch, antifae organization.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a complement of oranges and blues in the background, one with the orange of an amaranthine tree against a shadowy blue and flames at its base. In front of this is the blonde-haired Alex in a black tank top and jeans, wearing her bulky charm bracelet and several necklaces. The text is primarily white starting with an info blurb at the top with the author’s name below it. Below this is a testimonial to the left of the tree trunk. Below that, in a very pale gray, is the scroll-bordered series info level with Alex’s chest. Starting at her waist is the title.

The title is what Alex encounters, a Grave War with existence on the line.

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