“Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?”
“Yes” He paused.
“And then I wake up and remember that it’s real”
I’ve been reading a lot of mystery novels lately but still I was caught off guard by this book. Being published as a YA paranormal I didn’t expect to get a thriller mystery novel but it is a good thing since I enjoy reading thrillers lately. The Restorer offers a lot, it has crime, secret society, graveyard histories, forbidden romance, energy-sucking ghosts and an interesting heroine who works to repair graveyards. With all that I am hooked with this book from page one to end.
Amelia Gray is a graveyard restorer. She spend most of her time in graveyards ever since she was a kid. Graveyards become her playground as her father works in the cemetery near their house. It was during some time with her father that she discovered that she has the ability to see ghosts which her father call as the others. She also found out that her father has the same ability. She was taught by her father to never acknowledge the ghosts for once she do they will slowly seep the life out of her.
“Because what the dead want more than anything is to be a part of our world again. They are like parasites, drawn to your energy, feeding off our warmth. If they know you can see them, they’ll cling to you like blight. You’ll never be rid of them. And your life will never again be your own.”
Her father also gave her some rules to follow in order to survive.
- Never acknowledge the dead.
- Don’t look at them.
- Don’t speak to them.
- Don’t let them sense your fear, even when they touch you.
- Never stray too far from hallowed ground.
- Keep your distance from those who are haunted. If they seek you out, turn away from them for they constitute a terrible threat and cannot be trusted.
- Never, ever tempt fate.
Amelia lives with all these rules all her life, keeping her world isolated from the living and the dead. She puts her own guard to keep her safe which also makes her alone. But when dead bodies were found in a graveyard she was restoring, the rules are put to the test. Because of her knowledge in graveyards she was recruited on the murder mystery as a consultant. Her connection to the spirit world gives her clues to solve the mystery but it also puts her right in the path of the serial killer. Together with a haunted detective, Amelia must use her knowledge of graveyards and her otherworldly abilities to try to track down the murderer.
I really enjoyed the storyline, the graveyard restorer subject was really fascinating. Amelia Gray is an interesting character and her unusual occupation gives a lot of eerie feel & chilling theme in the story. Amelia is known as the Graveyard Queen, she is clearly hunted (literally and figuratively), her struggle to survive the living and the dead world is beautifully written. She’s strong but she also carry too much baggage with her and it’s hard not to care and sympathy for her. The other character, Delvin also got an interesting background. He is a tortured and broken man who goes through life without really living it. He is also hunted by two ghost who were slowly leeching his energy away.
The author has the gift of creating atmosphere, her lyrical writing makes this book more engaging. The descriptions she used were vivid, she easily crafted a clear visual settings and understanding for characters. The way she describes things like when ghosts are near Amelia, staring her & touching her is just so real and creepy. It will gives you the feeling of what it would be like to be haunted. The old cemetery, the Charleston and even the smells of flowers almost came to live with the writing. She created a world that will have you believe in ghosts even before you are done reading. The graveyards history with all the underlying meaning of tombstones symbols and epitaph is also intriguing. I love how it was all explained in detail which gives additional knowledge to readers. The secret society and its beliefs is also interesting. It adds depth to the story. One of the interesting idea they offer is this:
“When someone died, a door opened that would allow an observer a glimpse into the other side. The slower the death, the longer the door would stay open, so that one might even be able to pass through and come back out.”
I also loved the multi-layered mystery behind the plot. With all the different personalities and background of the characters involved you will suspect almost everyone. Each of them is shadowed and full of secrets that you questioned all their motives. The multiple sub plots allow for more deception. Just when you think you might know who the murderer is, something turns up and you find yourself wrong. The mystery will surely keep you guessing and keep turning the pages. The way the events tied up in a twisted maze of complexity is brilliant as the author shows the past, the present and the connections that bond to all the events.
The book ends beautifully as the killer was discovered. Though there are things that still left unsolved and secrets left untold it isn’t discomforting. The book can stand on its own and has lot of rooms for more stories to tell.
The Restorer is a gothic mystery novel that offers a haunting rich tale of ghost and murder. It is a brilliant mystery which simply proves that it is possible to tell a gruesome story without labouring over the gory details. This is definitely a haunting good read!