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. 

Kelly Coon, Gravemaidens
October 29, 2019

From the very first page you can tell that Kelly Coon sees the world she’s created vividly. Her descriptions of clothing, people, markets, and architecture are more than enough to paint the world for the reader.

Unfortunately, other aspects of Gravemadens didn’t meet the same standard.

I was drawn to request Gravemaidens because of how wonderfully dark it sounded. I also felt that the themes hinted at on the back cover, those of honor and tradition, were poignant in today’s political climate.

But I felt lost in the early pages. There is a lot of language that is unique to this world, and I could not understand family relationships without it. It was also difficult to understand the regency without a few context clues as to what all these new words meant.

Ultimately, I put it down pretty early on when the main character suggests and believes in the power of a Hail Mary to save her sister, although just paragraphs before she knew all was hopeless.

I wish I’d made it further but I didn’t feel like anything pulled me along.

My Rating: DNF

I found A PIECE OF CANDY! #giveaway #yalit #kidlit


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Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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