Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: YA Paranormal
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.
When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how.
Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past.
That's the jacket copy blurb by the way and that's essentially chapter one of Keli Wallace's SHALLOW GRAVES. So how can you not keep reading when you want to know WTH happened to Breezy and what kind of... monster is she?
It's such an interesting tale. SHALLOW GRAVES is told from Breezy's POV so we're taken on this journey where she hitchhikes, kills killers, while trying to figure out what she is, how she died, and if there are others like her. Although the setting has a rural feel to it, the world resembles your usual Urban Fantasy series, dark, lots of hunting and chasing, monsters like ghouls, serial killers, clawed boys, hunters, and other ambiguous creatures. That said, the world is undefined, as if KWallace is still forming it, as if this emergence of monsters is in the cusp of coming out of the shadows and causing havoc among humans.
Another thing about SHALLOW GRAVES is how awesome Breezy is as a narrator. She truly read me into the book, I was a fly on the wall, the unmentioned secondary character who was with her every step of the way. And for those who are looking for "diverse" characters, know that Breezy is Asian, a brilliant girl who has her heart set on NASA, has a reputation in school, but nothing out of the ordinary as far as being a teenage girl goes. To say that Breezy is no longer the same is a huge understatement, dying has really put things in perspective for our girl and I look forward to seeing how much father she's going to grow despite hiding in the shadows, being vigilante of sorts.
SHALLOW GRAVES's Breezy (aka KWallace) has such a compelling voice. I found the world creepy, horrifying, and fascinating at the same time. KWallace really captured the kind of monsters that I find scary, there's nothing novel or cute about her creatures. And I'm not just talking about Breezy, the humans are just as vicious if not more cruel than their supernatural counterparts. I love how dark the story is and how much I want more of it. KWallace, you're definitely on my watch list now.