Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Graveminder #1


Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Horror (2011)
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene's death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.

324 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Melissa Marr

107 books12.7k followers

Melissa Marr is a former university literature instructor who writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series for teens, the Graveminder for adults, and her debut picturebook Bunny Roo, I Love You.

Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages and been bestsellers internationally as well as domestically (NY Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal).Accolades include starred reviews on numerous books, YALSA Popular Paperbacks, IRA Notable Book Pick, Book Sense Pick (YA and adult), Good Morning America Summer Pick for Teens, Scottish Book Trust, Red Maple finalist (in both Ontario and Manitoba), and Goodreads Good Choice Award (Horror), RWA RITA award (YA).

She also write romance for adults as Ronnie Douglas.

She co-authored (with Kelley Armstrong) a MG trilogy as M.A. Marr.

In addition to novels, Melissa has co-edited several anthologies, as well as published short fiction, manga, and prose non-fiction.

She currently lives with her family in Arizona.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,353 (18%)
4 stars
4,244 (32%)
3 stars
4,246 (32%)
2 stars
1,646 (12%)
1 star
491 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,108 reviews
Profile Image for Katrina Passick Lumsden.
1,780 reviews12.8k followers
April 23, 2012
Have you ever attended a seminar or lecture given by someone you find wholly intriguing only to have the entire thing be a complete and total wash? And you're sitting there wondering when things are going to get good, but the lecturer's monotone voice and thoroughly uninspired narration are conspiring to put you to sleep even though you know, deep down, that you should be on the edge of your seat?

That's what Graveminder is like. All the elements are there; paranormal phenomenon, secrets, alternate realities, romance....so....why is this book so damn boring? It really shouldn't be. I'm not quite sure how Melissa Marr managed to do it, but she's managed to create a thoroughly uninspired, completely redundant, unbelievably boring paranormal romance. It took me days to slog through it and that's unusual for me. Between wondering when things were finally going to pick up and hoping against hope that the main protagonist, Rebekkah, would stop being such a whiny, spineless douche, I found myself yawning and rolling my eyes more than is acceptable for paranormal romance. I'm not even sure where to begin picking this apart. Maybe numbers would help.

1. There are far too many instances of repeated information. Specifically of the internal monologue variety. Rebekkah just couldn't be with Byron. No. She couldn't. Wouldn't. She's not the relationship type. No. He's not hers. No. She can't be with him. And on and on and on. Ms. Marr, we heard you the first three hundred times, Rebekkah has guilt issues about Byron. Move on, please.

2. Life is an emotional rollercoaster. Paranormal life is an emotional rollercoaster on steroids. Yet there are no ups and down in this book. No blue-tinged lows or red-tinged, whirlwind highs. Just a steady stream of monotonous gray. If you were to read this book aloud, do so in the voice of an automaton. You'll quickly get what I mean. Suspenseful cliffhangers? We don't need no stinkin' suspenseful cliffhangers.

3. No sex. None. I was under the impression that this was an adult paranormal romance. Indeed, the main characters are in their early-to-mid-twenties. Imagine my surprise, then, when they not only don't have sex, but also act like they're still 16. With as boring as the rest of it was, Ms. Marr could have at least broken up some of the doldrums with some steamy hip action. I deserved at least that much for putting up with the mind-numbing story.

4. The characters are stupid. The two predecessors, Maylene and William, keep things from Rebekkah and Byron up until the very last minute, then try and give them a fricking crash course in tending to the dead. Excuse me, what? This is kind of important. Rebekkah doesn't even get the attention that Byron does, she gets nothing but a letter from Maylene and the promise of journals she can't even find! Byron's all right, but Rebekkah is an asshole and I hate her. Seriously, I can't stand the chick. "She's so afraid of losing anyone else she loves that she just denies that she loves them"...give me a break. Seriously? Denying it won't make it any easier if you lose them, idiot. Like I said, she acts like she's 16. Actually, I've met 16-year-olds with more emotional maturity than that, so I don't know what the hell her excuse is. The only obvious explanation is that she's a mental midget.

5. The "Big Bad" is ridiculous. When you find out what's really going on, the enormity of its ludicrousness might actually make you double over with laughter. Cruella Deville would have been more believable.

This is the second Melissa Marr book I've read, and this completely flat, sleepy narration seems to be her style. It's a shame because she seems to possess a truly vivid imagination. It's sad when an author with such seemingly good ideas can't even make zombies exciting.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,920 followers
June 6, 2011
I wouldn’t exactly call Graveminder urban fantasy, but I don’t know what else to call it either, so I guess I’ll just leave it on my UF shelf. It reminded me of a small town horror story. I should probably list what I liked and didn’t like here. Don't worry, it’s going to be very short.

What I liked:
- From what I understand, Melissa Marr didn’t plan this as a series. Everything was wrapped up nicely which was very refreshing.
- 3rd person narrative and multiple POVs made the story a little hard to get into, but once I did, I enjoyed the change.
- Some of the supporting characters, like Amity. They were far more interesting than either Rebekkah or Byron.
- The world of the dead was really interesting, and the characters there were amazing.

What I didn’t like (I’ll try to keep it as short as possible):
- The names Rebekkah and Byron. Rebekkah is even worse than Faythe and I didn’t think that was possible. I want a UF heroine named Mary. That would be a nice change.
- The story was sadly predictable. I could see everything coming from a mile away. That made it a little boring, and not just in the middle.
- Some parts of the story didn’t make any sense, but I can’t really explain them without major spoilers.
- It was mentioned several times that the dead aren’t really zombies, but they do rise from their graves and walk around biting people. I say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

I wouldn’t recommend this books to anyone, but I wouldn’t want to stop you from reading it either. I’m sure some of my friends will enjoy it far more than I did.
Profile Image for Jeaniene Frost.
Author 56 books26.4k followers
March 11, 2011
I devoured this book. Compelling, sexy, and even slightly scary at times, Graveminder is amazing. No wonder Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and Kirkus Reviews have given it advance raves.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,220 reviews462 followers
June 22, 2011
Rating: 2.0

In the year 1712, a woman named Abigail Barrows unwittingly opens a gateway into the land of the dead and sets things in motion that will have an everlasting impact on the town of Claysville. Seeing the error in her ways, she agrees to work with Death in order to bring the deceased back to their world. Abigail is therefore named the first Graveminder whose responsibilities are to ensure the dead are taken care of, and if any rise, she is to escort them back to the land of the dead.

There is also an Undertaker that is supposed to help her bring them back to the land of the dead while protecting her at all times. Each previous Graveminder or Undertaker has either been a Barrows family member or a Montgomery. Each is responsible for choosing their own replacement as are the representatives of the town’s council. For some reason, which is never explained, Graveminders can not see the ones that came before them.

Because of Abigail's mistake, the townspeople of Claysville agree to a contract with Death that basically gives them longevity and near perfect health. If they didn’t agree to the contract, then the entire town would have been eliminated and permanently linked to the dead. Nobody knows what is really in the contract, just that no resident born in the towns limits can leave permanently. If they die outside of town, they must be returned to Claysville to be interned and minded or else other residents will start dying. Lastly, only a select few can ever know the truth about what is happening in town. The rest are kept ignorant including the Sheriff who gets migraines if he knows too much.

Flash forward to the present and it now becomes Rebekkah Barrow’s turn at being the Graveminder after her grandmother Maylene is killed by a walking dead who has been prevented from being minded out of spite and jealously after not being named her replacement. Rebekkah loves Byron Montgomery who becomes the Undertaker to her Graveminder, but can’t stand him at times. She wants to get close to him, but after their past where they kissed while he was dating her step sister, things became ice cold between them. They go back and forth so many times that Bryon is the person I felt okay with, while Rebekkah got under my skin like nails on a chalkboard. Each has spent years away from Claysville, but now they are inexplicably drawn back to town. Once they are named Graveminder and Undertaker, they can never leave town again. I call this the Twilight Zone factor.

I actually liked Byron, Amity Blue, and even Daisha better than I did Rebekkah. Rebekkah acted like one of Ms. Marr’s teenagers throughout the book. At least Daisha had a reason for eating the people she did, and even though Bryon couldn’t forgive her, she still is a better character overall than Bekka. Creepiness factor was that Daisha actually ate and drank her victims blood. No, she is not a vampire nor a zombie either.

A proper description of a Graveminder in this book: A Graveminder keeps the dead in the earth or brings them to Charlie, aka Mr. Death, if they go for a walk. While her partner the Undertaker, is supposed to protect her from harm and be with her for her lifetime. If any Claysville resident dies elsewhere and was left alone without minding, they would wake up and people in the town die horribly.

I really did have high hopes for this solo work after having finished reading the Wicked Lovely series. Maybe, and this is just my opinion, she should have stayed away from doing an adult release. I will never criticize anyone for liking a book in polar opposite to me hating it. I guess I must be a glutton for punishment in that I actually allowed myself to finish this story instead of abandoning it.

Best part of the book? The ending!

Would I recommend this book to anyone? Debatable at this time.
Profile Image for Jacqie.
1,653 reviews80 followers
April 6, 2011
Didn't end up finishing this one. The writing wasn't bad, but the book had one of my biggest pet peeves at the beginning. The "we have secrets, but we can't tell the main character because..." Take your pick.

1. It's not the right time.
2. You can't handle the truth.
3. I'm afraid you won't love me anymore if I tell you.
4. You won't believe me.
5. You're too young.

or 6. All of the above.

I absolutely despise this method of building narrative tension. After more than 50 pages of the above excuses I knew that the reveal couldn't possibly be worth the buildup, and skimmed the rest. I was right.

The Graveminder/Undertaker concept is an interesting one. The undead ideas are slightly more original than the norm. The villain was underutilized until the end. The romance was about average. So there you have it.

I might have been kinder if I wasn't frustrated by the above skullduggery with drawing out the reveal.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
December 26, 2016
After 1 month of reading this book, I finally finished it. Oh my god! It was probably my reading slump that made me struggle to end this novel in one go or its slow story flow. Or maybe both.

Anyway, I'm happy I didn't give up. I still liked this book despite having a hard time finishing the novel.

Graveminder is about you know, minding the graves (ha!). Basically, it was about a town called Claysville, a Graveminder, an Undertaker and the dead. There's more to it if you read this book and it's one of the reason why I still liked this book in the first place.

I have mentioned before that this book is slow, right? Well yes, it's true. Though it was started with a murder, the flow of the story didn't get exciting (at least for me). It's more of a quite tedious setup for the inevitable, for the main event.

The main characters has been introduced, who, unsurprisingly were friends with benefits or lovebirds or whatsoever you want to think. Don't worry, there's a back story. The world building is shyly defined and conflict was realized. Then came the running around the circles scenarios to slowly develop the plot which either confused or annoyed me. It's fine though. At least, I'd appreciate the novel a little more.

Four weeks later, I stumbled upon on the interesting and engaging part of the book. The last quarter. Rough computation. This is where the resolution and the climax happened and the big reveal has been you know, revealed. I thoroughly enjoyed this part, I tell you. I've got to know more about this Graveminder-Undertaker tandem and how it originated. I've got to cherish the excitement I didn't get on the three-fourth of the book.

Overall, plotwise, it was good. Character-wise, not so much.
Profile Image for Patrícia.
991 reviews99 followers
February 21, 2016
Reviewed for Books Books and more Books.

RATING: 2.5 stars.

I'm not sure if I'm just not in the mood to write reviews or whether there is something about this book that makes it difficult to write about it. A bit of both, maybe. The bottom line is that I can't seem to put my thoughts in order and write something about this book.

I liked it well enough, I suppose. It was an easy enough read; Melissa Marr can definitely entice a reader through her writing, yes and also with her ideas and concepts. Because I simply loved the concept of this book. It's not that it's completely original - actually I was reminded of Anna Dressed in Blood as I read this - but the entire setting is intriguing. That is what made me buy this book in the first place.

But... I didn't like how Marr explored her idea. I thought she just wanted to put too much into the book: troubled pasts, mysterious rites, failed loves, tragic happenings, a murder/ mystery plot and a great secret; not to mention several characters that required a lot of development (such as Charles). The overall concept required a lot of layering and world-building and I don't feel like the author achieved this. I thought the world-building was shallow (in part because of the fact that so much was crammed into the book) and the story was way too character-driven, when it shouldn't be.

So I finished the book and felt... unsatisfied. There was so much I was looking forward to know that was never answered.
The mystery was not very well explored and the romantic subplot took way too much spotlight when there were so many other interesting things happening. The fact that the male protagonist lacked character and the female heroine was annoying most of the time only made it worse: not even the romance was interesting because I didn't particularly like the characters and because I wanted to read about the other stuff like the Graveminders powers and why were all the ghosts under the city (much like in Ghost Whisperer, actually); who was Charles really and what was the 'Underworld' presented in the book. Why could Abigail do what she did? These were the things that really interested me... not Rebekkah and her romantic woes.

Overall: Yet again, we have one of those "great concept but poor execution" kind of books (I should probably create a shelf for those, they are 'piling up', so to speak). It read like the author's YA books, the only difference being that it had a little more nudity. But like hers (and most) YA series it focuses on the romance rather than the supernatural plot, which wasn't especially thrilling for me because she didn't even do it right... Rebekkah and Byron spent most of the book whining about how they loved each other but couldn't be together. Very dramatic and... well, annoying.

If you liked Melissa Marr's "Wicked Lovely" series, you'll like this. However, if you read the synopsis and thought the idea interesting I would thread carefully; this is more paranormal romance than urban fantasy. A somewhat disappointing read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shannon.
44 reviews44 followers
September 17, 2011
I'd never read anything by Melissa Marr, even though I see that she's put out several books before this one. I had high hopes for Graveminder. The idea for it sounded intriguing.

Unfortunately I very quickly got frustrated with the way in which events unfolded. It seems like the great majority, if not all, of the confusion and conflict in the book was a result of the characters just not bothering to ever tell anyone anything, and never for any reason beyond "Oh, I just couldn't!"

It seemed a bit like lazy writing to me. There were other, less frustrating ways for, just as an example, Rebekkah (just spell her name right, please? I hate that) to have been clueless about what to do once Maylene was gone and she was compelled to take up her duties. Maylene never bothering to tell her just seemed ridiculous, considering the danger.

Also, her issues with Byron. Initially it seemed understandable, if frustrating, for her to resist her attraction to him out of guilt over her sister. But once that misunderstanding is taken away, she just immediately falls back into her old habit of pushing him away without even a thought about her changed understanding.

I have to admit, this is the moment I gave up on this book. I was listening to the audiobook and normally I let those go on to the end even if I don't like it much because I listen at work and it's nice to have something different to listen to. But when Byron and Rebekkah come back from the Land of the Dead and she simply refuses to even TALK to him, I just couldn't deal anymore. I was so annoyed by her at that point that I wanted to shake her, and I was so bored by how whiny and pointlessly obstinate she was that I didn't even care what happened to her.

In my head, Daisha bites Rebekkah's face off, Byron goes back to Amity (who was actually kind of interesting and not in the least someone I wanted to slap at any time), and they leave Claysville to the zombies (they are dead people who rise from their graves and eat people. zombies.).

It makes me sad to give such a negative review since the story had such potential.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
May 13, 2011
Truth be told, when I first heard Melissa Marr had a new book out, I wasn't going to read it. As much as I enjoyed her Wicked Lovely series (she did after all give us the glorious Seth) I was equally frustrated and fascinating at the same time and I wasn't sure I wanted to invest the same energy into something that could potentially be the same way. So, thanks Crystal for sharing your copy and Arlene for sending it. I actually really enjoyed myself with this one.

I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. I really liked the way this was delivered, it was in multi-pov's and I was worried that I would be a little lost, but Marr really strings the characters thoughts quite nicely, bringing in a nice flow and pace to the storyline. And wow, what a storyline! I can't say that I'm a huge fan of Zombies, but the few books I've read from this element I liked. Graveminder definitely adds to that list. It's very well crafted, unique and shutter-worthy.
Great great cast of characters who were all very well developed and likable. I thought the roles of Undertaker/Graveminder was completely fascinating. From the contract to what it entails to the inevitable bond they share. It was all very different from your usual paranormal storyline so I give kudos to Marr for her use of imagination and creativity.
Bottom line, I loved this book. It was fun and freaky and while I'm not sure if we're getting any more books from this world, I would love to see where Marr takes it!

An amazing read!

January 8, 2013
I thought this was an YA at first, and I think I can be forgiven for this error, since the main character behaves so much like a rebellious teenager. I didn't like it, even as a light read. I found Rebekkah self-centered and too willful, and Byron was a complete doormat. I found the actions of the characters unbelievable, and there were insufficient explanations as to what was going on. The mystery behind the town; the entire reason for the existence behind the characters of the Undertaker and the Graveminder were poorly explained, also. I expected more about Mr. Charlie and the mystery of the town that lies underneath since the author built up to it. I was disappointed at the loose ends and the poor plot lines.
Profile Image for Sarah Mac.
1,099 reviews
May 24, 2015
In a word: boring.

As I continue to clear away stockpiles of genres I've grown to dislike (PNR/UF, steampunk, YA), I sometimes wonder what inspired me to initially make the purchase. But in this case, my reasoning is clear. I liked Marr's YA faery series. I like modern gothic. I like small-town horror with paranormal elements.

...And yet this book was a fail.

Marr's writing reads easily in the technical sense; I raced through 130+ pages despite not liking it. But even when things began to make slightly more sense (which did little to offset the dullness), I hated everyone involved & didn't GAF about their fates. The only characters that inspired any spark of interest were Charlie (aka Mr D.) & the quirky bartender Amity (#6 on the UF Stock Character List -- nothing original there). The hero, Byron, was a non-entity beta with zero personality, zero believability, zero anything aside from riding a badass motorcycle. As for Rebekkah -- I hated her. She's another flatline self-insert, with the added bonus of being a manipulative moo who whines when people try to care, then whines even more when they throw up their hands & back off. Bitch, please. I can't stand that kind of passive/aggressive bullshit. Everyone acted more like spoiled teenagers than adults with functional neurons; as with books by Deborah Harkness, Juliet Dark, Sylvain Reynard, & others of this wobbly subgenre, the bratty morons within made me want to rip the book in half.

As other reviews have pointed out, the concept is pretty cool. But the execution is terrible. Characters have no substance, so why should I care about anything that might happen should Moo Rebekkah fail to perform...whatever. Some duties about graves & dead people which aren't explained until halfway through the book. Why does nobody tell them anything? Why is the town not allowed to know what's going on? And headaches whenever you veer too close to the truth...REALLY? *eyeroll* (N.B.: I read the last few pages & the villain's homicidal psychoness & raving jealousy re: family issues were absolutely redonk.) But Byron & Rebekkah were by far the worst flaw of the novel. For god's sake, you're not 16. Quell the 9 years of needless moping & talk to each other like normal adults. Tragedy happens, & it's not always about you. Imagine the shock when these oblivious knuckleheads learn that her stepsister's suicide was not because they kissed as lovelorn teenagers. What a surprise! >___< Throw in one of my most hated plot devices -- the deliberate withholding of information for no good reason ("I can't tell you, you're not ready, you weren't old enough to understand," etc etc) -- and my eyeballs wouldn't stop rolling.

Nope. DNF.
Profile Image for Mel.
1,180 reviews45 followers
May 18, 2011
Right now I don't have time to do a proper review so I'll be brief. There are some books that are so good that you can't put them down and read them until your eyelids close on you. There are books that you try to read fast because it grips you so tight that you wanna get to the end and then when it ends you wished you'd read slower just to draw it out. This is one of those books. I woke up this morning with 40 pages left and it killed me all morning to sit at work. Thank the gods for lunchtime. Now I'm wishing that I hadn't devoured it so quickly because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the world. Guess that means I'm gonna have to re-read it.

I loved Melissa's YA series, Wicked Lovely, and had been looking forward to this book for months. It did not disappoint. The world she has created is unique, the characters are brilliantly written, the romance between Rebekkah, the Graveminder and Byron, the Undertaker, was hauntingly beautiful and I really hope this is only the beginning.

Way to go, Melissa! Your first adult fantasy novel was spec-frakkin-tacular!
Profile Image for Underpressure.
36 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2011
I was really excited about this book; 'was' being the operational word in this sentence. Although Marr is clearly not the new Hemingway, or Harris for that matter, I followed the Wicked Lovely series in appreciation of the lush world she had created. So, I was looking forward to reading her first foray into adult lit to see what she could cook up on the adult side of the fence. Let me just say, I tried to like this book. I really did. I had earmarked it for a weekend when I knew I would be doing a lot of travelling and yet the boredom of spending 12 hours on a train did not entice me to continue reading it. My boredom was more interesting. In fact, I had a hard time making it to past the first couple of pages. There was no hook and I felt like I was watching a poorly-acted play. All of the characters are stiff, wooden things and I felt not an ounce of love or interest for one of them. Ok, maybe Byron showed some prospects but even then, not enough for me to keep going. RIP Graveminder.
Profile Image for Cathy.
13 reviews
November 8, 2011
Wow, I really liked this book but it seems quite a few readers didn't or thought it was OK.

Here are my thoughts:

Maybe I'm bias, but I grew up loving Stephen King novels. This horror story had the-quirky-small-town-and-you-know-there's-something-amiss-vibe all over it. It was an easy read but I found the beginning pace slow. Long build ups are boring, however the mystery intrigued me and I couldn't put the book down.

The premise is about a town where there is a magical divide between the living world and the dead one. There is a Graveminder (always female) who protects the town from the walking dead. What happens if she doesn't? The dead EAT the living. Yeah, I know...zombie zone! Don't worry, it wasn't graphic or really eww....drop the book gross or anything.

In some ways, I think the Graveminder is to the dead like Buffy was to vampires. Just the local girl who kept the peace of the supernatural. The Graveminder doesn't have a Watcher but has an Undertaker (always male) who protects and advises her. There is a romantic twist as each role is fated to be very much drawn to one another working together to fight baddies. I have a philosophical conflict with this part as it brings up the whole predestination vs personal choice issue. Despite my hang up, Marr delivers a pretty solid horror story.

The two worlds are well developed. Some small town stereotypical (red shirt)characters do die. Plot isn't overly detailed or complex, but engrossing and unique. No melodrama or extreme plot twists. No desperate cliche moves in romance. The story is also self-contained, therefore no cliff hangers. It's totally enjoyable. This novel stands out this year as one of my favorites.

I gave it 4 stars (disclaimer below on why it didn't get higher).

Graveminder is considered an adult book, but I would say based on the YA books I've read out there, teenagers would like this book as well. For those who like audio, this is pretty decent on audible although the voice sounded very young. If you can get over that, she does a good job overall.

Disclaimer to romance readers: I get why people don't like the heroine. She's very indecisive and insecure when it comes to relationships. Rebekkah had potential, but the chemistry between Byron and her was annoying. There was no passion with way too much angst for an adult book. I was able to push beyond Byron and Rebekkah and enjoy it as a good horror story.
Profile Image for pdbkwm.
346 reviews36 followers
January 24, 2012
I haven't read a book in a long time. Somehow, I was busy with school and life to actually have the time to pick up a book and read it.

When I went to the library to pick up some graphic novels/mangas I saw this and somehow I was drawn to it. The cover (with the old house) was creepy and the blurb sounded delicious. For the first time in a long time, I was truly excited to pick up a book.

Then I started to read it. This is the first book of Melissa Marr that I've read, I know her by her Wicked Lovely series and can tell that she's a talented young adult novel. The problem with this book is that it is marketed towards adults, but the writing sounds like something you'd find in teen fiction. Nothing wrong with that if done correctly, but it didn't work here.

The characters. There are actually three issues I had with the characters:

1. Rebekkah is annoying. Byron is whipped. And for the majority of the book (especially the first 2/3rds of it) they talk about nothing except their angst for each other. I felt suffocated just reading about how much Byron loved her but how much Rebekkah couldn't handle commitment, but still wanted him but couldn't. Add on to the fact that they are apparently destined for each other and this little reader couldn't handle it. It was just too much. The entire time they were together, I wished that either one of them died or they broke up.

2. The rest of the characters are very flat, with the exception of Daisha and Elizabeth. Daisha is shown quite a bit, but I wish we saw more of Elizabeth. From the two chapters that she showed up, she was a really interesting character. Her mother is power hungry, but she just goes with the flow afraid of the consequences. She knows her mother is wrong, but she's afraid. Interesting. Except she doesn't show up and after all is said and done, she didn't even need to be in the book.

3. The villain. No spoilers, but the villain was pretty bad. The problem here is that...hmmm, how can I explain this without spoiling? I don't think I can, so here I go

The plot, by itself, is interesting. It just wasn't executed properly. Was it creative? Yes, I think Melissa Marr had a lot of great ideas in this book. Was the writing great? Sadly no. As an adult novel, it didn't work. Had this been written with teens I think I might have liked it a bit more. Rebekkah and Byron's angst wouldn't have been as annoying, because I could blame the hormones.

The premise of the book makes it exciting and when I picked this up, I felt that. Sadly, the execution and the characters are a different story.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,744 reviews1,305 followers
June 26, 2020
I liked this, it did irritate me the way Rebekka constantly pushed Byron away though. She obviously liked him, and okay, he used to be her sister's boyfriend, but even so! He loved her, she loved him, and her sister was dead. Get over it already.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
April 18, 2011
When I heard Melissa Marr was releasing a new paranormal, I didn’t even know what it was about and I still couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. See, Marr happens to be one of my favorite authors and possibly the only writer who is able to captivate me with the concept of fairies and their opposing courts. So then I hear that the book is called Graveminder and it’s a zombie-like adult novel. Hmmmm, two genres I don’t typically gravitate to, but if anyone can change my mind it’s Marr. So before I even review this book, I have to thank my Booker friend Crystal for sharing her ARC with me. I was so freakin’ excited to read this book; and to get my hands on it well before the anticipated release date was just awesome. Thank you so much Crystal!

Okay, to say I really enjoyed this zombie-like adventure is an understatement. I’m still sitting here in awe that this book was written by Marr. The only thing I could recognize in this book by this author is her fluid prose and captivating cast of characters. I could not recognize her voice or style one bit in this adult paranormal, so hats off to her for penning a book so unique in plot, structure and narrative. Great job!

In this story, Rebekkah (Bek) Barrow is called back to the town of Claysville when her grandmother Maylene is murdered. Bek has spent the last nine years moving from city to city trying to escape her life in Claysville and her love for Byron. When she returns to the small town, Bek must assume her grandmother’s responsibility as the town’s Graveminder, where she will be the person who keeps the dead in the earth or brings them back to Charlie (Mr. D) if they go out walking. When the Undertaker (the Graveminder’s protector) suddenly dies, Byron finds himself in that role, which forces Bek to uncover the town’s secrets and her true feelings for Byron. Inevitably, they must find a way to work together to keep Claysville safe and the dead where they belong.

The story did start off a bit slow paced and it’s almost like Marr is making you work for the details and the essence of this book. There were quite a few chapters that I sat there trying to figure out what in the wholly grave was going on. But as the pieces come together and story progresses my confusion transformed to amazement as a tale of town secrets, running from your past, and facing your fears is weaved in flawless perfection. In the end, I was amazed.

This book does involve zombie-like beings, which is something I don’t typically enjoy reading, but the way it all came together has finally made me a fan, and I can honestly say, I’m eager for more gore. Very well done, and again congrats to Melissa Marr for stretching outside her comfort zone and authoring a novel that demonstrates writing is her true craft. Well done!

Tina, you're next! Enjoy!! :D
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews92 followers
March 23, 2011
When I first saw this book I knew that I had to read it because Melissa Marr wrote and it and I believe that she is awesome. Now that I have read it I think she is a genius. This story was so beautiful and horror filled that I am left wanting so much more.
Imagine living in a town where everything stays quiet. There are no diseases to be a afraid of and town life is just simple. The town of Claysville is just this place. The people that are born here stay here not only because they want to but because in their souls they know they have to. A long time ago a contract was put together to ensure the safety of the town and it's people but with this protective bubble came certain complications. For instance, if a couple want to have a baby they must put in an order sorta speak. See the town has to maintain at a certain level, it can not get to big or to little so that life can stay quiet. Another bump in this contract is that when somebody from the town dies the Graveminder must "mind" their graves for three months to make sure that the recently deceased stay put. If they don't then run because the dead are hungry. Most of the towns people are unaware of this contract with the exception being the council and the Priest and even they are limited in their knowledge. When the current Graveminder unexpectedly dies her Granddaughter, Rebekkah , must step in. The only problem is that Rebekkah has no clue what her Grandmother has been doing for all these years. She knows that her Grandmother visited the dead, but as to why she chalks it up to Maylene just being eccentric. So, when Rebekkah returns home to bury her Grandmother her life literally gets turned upside down and she now must face her new future and for a woman who never likes to stay in one place too long this may just be the thing to kill her. This is only the basis for the story, Marr throws in zombies, a leading male hero, Charlie or Mr. D if you will, and a town with many many secrets.
I can not say how much I loved this book. I have never read a book about zombies and you can bet that I will venture into this new world more often. Marr creates such a vivid and frightening world that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The book can be gruesome but come on they are zombies gore is expected. I was completely shocked by the ending as well. Fans of Marr will love this new turn that she has taken from fae to zombies and I for one hope that she writes more about Claysville.
Profile Image for Kristy.
592 reviews88 followers
February 1, 2012
I can see why some people would gobble this up and fall into this world. I can also see why some people would rip it to shreds and hate it. It is creepy, but not overly so. So, those of you wanting to be "pee-your-pants scared" you will be dissapointed. However, if you are a cowardly lion like me, you will be okay.

I feel like this is a -not-for-me story, yet I know it still had it's shining moments. I also hate how long it took to really get to the main story. There was so much world building and character backgrounds and love interests and this and that in the beginning, I was starting to get a little bored. I was about to the point of screaming at Melissa Marr. Get on with it already.

In the end, I found this to be:
interesting, creepy, different yet predictable at times and well-written although not my taste.


Rebekkah really got on my nerves at times. Especially regarding her relationship with Byron. She was so hot and cold it was hard to tell what she was thinking.

The whole other world Charlie/Mr. D. deal was just odd. It was interesting, but I was afraid Rebekkah was going to get tricked into staying there.

Daisha, Maylene, Amity, Byron, Cissy.... what is up with these names?!?!?

The whole town contract deal was a pretty fun concept. I really wish we could have gotten more details.

3 stars
(I have to give some credit to Marr, and I acknowledge that many of you will probably rate this higher.... and I can see why, but yet.... I just can't.)
Profile Image for Katie.
275 reviews41 followers
August 26, 2021
2.5 🌟

It’s alright, the premise is interesting but the author really didn’t deliver in my opinion. I haven’t liked a few of the Melissa Marr books I’ve read though.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
1,068 reviews80 followers
May 23, 2020
“Sleep well, and stay where I put you.” Melissa Marr’s Graveminder (Graveminder,#1) is a woman who says these words and performs other traditional rituals at all of the graves of the newly dead and buried in the small town of Claysville. Rebekkah Barrow, ‘Bek’, watched her grandmother, Maylene, do this throughout her adolescence which she spent in Claysville. Now, Maylene has passed away, and Bek is returning to Claysville for the funeral after spending ten years away from this small town. Waiting for her is Byron Montgomery who works in the funeral home with his father. Bek is about to uncover the reason her grandmother performed these rituals as well as realizing that Claysville’s living and dead are a bit too closely related’. Who is Charles ‘aka’ Mr. D? What is that shadow underneath Claysville? Bek is returning to Claysville for Maylene’s funeral, but besides Byron waiting for her, Bek finds a unknown responsibility of possible horrific consequences. A very different, but well-written story. Why not read this “Great American Gothic”? 4 stars.
Profile Image for Natasha  A..
490 reviews
May 23, 2011
For anyone who loves:
Exceptional uniqueness
Smattering of romance
Why did I read it?
I had to see what Ms. Marr would do with an Adult rather than YA novel.
And well, the premise, look at that blurb!

My Rambles:
I was very impressed with Ms. Marr's first venture into adult fiction.
This was creepy and suspenseful, and had just enough secrets to make me keep reading and not too many that made me want to put the book down.
In fact just in general, putting the book down was VERY hard!!
I loved the interactions between all of the characters. The conflict was believable.
As for the paranormal aspect? OMG I loved it! I really don't want to get into it because it isn't fully explained until later on. I love the other "world". I just really love this book period. I can't wait for more!!

Quality of writing: 8/10
Pace: 8/10
Plot Development: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ease of Reading: 8/10
Enjoyability: 9/10
Overall: 4.75/5
Profile Image for Angela.
326 reviews59 followers
April 27, 2011
Creative world but tedious romance

In Melissa Marr's first adult novel, GRAVEMINDER, the quiet, small town of Claysville is not what it seems. When her beloved but quirky grandmother is found dead, Rebekkah returns to the place and the man, Byron, she's been keeping at arm's length for nearly a decade. Very soon, Bek and Byron learn that secrets have been kept from them and that a shadowy world of the dead exists under their feet. Pulled into centuries-old roles as the Graveminder and the Undertaker - those responsible for keeping the dead from walking - the two must combat growing threats to their community while coming to terms with their rocky past.

Having read Marr's WICKED LOVELY series for young adults, I was eager to see how she would do with her adult debut. Similar to her past work, the author's greatest strength lies in her ability to create an imaginative world and mythos in which to immerse her characters. The responsibilities and roles of the Graveminder and Undertaker were original, and her world of the dead was highly creative. The prologue drew me in with the palpable sense of dread and mystery it created. Those of the dead, like Mr. D., Alicia, and Daisha, were fascinating characters about whom I wanted to read more. The novel also finished in a conclusive place, though it could be expanded into a series.

With this strong opening and unique mythos, I was hoping for a great read. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The most interesting part of the book's created world lies in the land of the dead and its characters, but little time is spent there. Instead, much of the story focuses on the relationship struggles and haunted past between Rebekkah and Bryon. While I love a good romance with some challenges, their story felt tedious and slow due to the constant repetition of plot points about why Bek couldn't let herself be with Byron and about all of the information that has been withheld from the two of them. Both characters acted much less mature than expected for well-travelled adults in their mid to late 20s. Due to this, pacing dragged until the later portions of the book. Some of the characterizations used to develop her characters also felt too similar to Marr's other books, and many small plot threads and side characters were introduced but never explored.

GRAVEMINDER will appeal to those looking for an American Gothic tale with a heavy dose of romantic angst and some action from the undead. If Marr continues writing in this universe, I hope she picks up the pacing and focuses more on the world of the dead she's created and the apparently complicated characters that inhabit it.

Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.
30 reviews
May 4, 2012
Oh man. Where did it all go wrong? I'd like to start by saying - loudly and vocally - that I first encountered Marr many years ago when an advance copy of Ink Exchange fell into my sticky mitts. I loved that book and the way it brought in some real dark edges to what could have been a straightforward yarn - and also the interestng choice to have a heroine that actually didn't want a supernatural, otherwordly boyfriend and would be quite happy with her real world friend. So, I saw this, saw that involved dead people that didn't stay dead and tending to go shambling about a small town and went "Zombie ghost things plus Marr? Wooo".
Did I set my expectations too high? I don't know. But everything I previously liked about Marr's style really jarred here for me. I found the lead Rebekkah to be very unlikeable - even more so when brought into contact with her love interest (Drew? Was his name Drew? I hated this book so much I can't even be arsed to look at it again to check). It was tedious. Seriously - when EVERYTHING including mystic deals with death and whatnot are all telling you that you're doomed/destined to be madly in love with each other AND you both kind of are, do we really have to wade through so much "Oh no! Oh yes! Oh I just don't know!" crap? Seriously there's zombies out there! Or ghosts that can nom on people which is nearly as good. It says a lot when the only characters I liked in any capacity were the dead ones.
Unfortunately the characters drove so much of the narrative that a lot of the plot, which actually featured some nice ideas, was completely obscured by this overarching thread. And while it wasn't exactly hard to predict, like I said, there were some nice flourishes. Though her version of the underworld recalled Poppy Z Brite's "Drawing Blood" in a big way and served to remind me why this was inferior.
I finished it. Mainly in the hope that someone would man up and just torch the entire place or a vintage Impala would pull up with two ghosthunting brothers to just lay waste to everything but the Winchesters were probably too busy - they probably thought there was enough family angsting in a small town setting going on and kept driving through on their way to some proper smackdowns or something. If there's any more in this series, I'll be giving them a wide berth and I'll be donating my copy of this book to my local charity shop - maybe it can be the first teeny tiny baby rehabilitation step for some soul-dead Twihard keen on re-engaging with normal life.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,473 reviews1,085 followers
January 27, 2016
Much like the dead call to the Graveminder, this book called to me from the bookshop shelf when my friend and I were browsing deals. The cover was intriguing enough but the plot sealed it - unique and horror sounding. It turned out to be a new born gothic, not horror, and when I first started reading it I worried it would primarily be romance. Romance did turn out being a part of it but this died down after awhile.

The story itself is awesome with its details, originality, and possibilities. There could even be a series here if the author ever wished to continue with it. The pacing is a slow thing, so be prepared to have patience for things to unravel. It's almost sixty or so pages in before the main characters are even filled in about what's going on. Since it's a gothic type, a slower build-up sort of accompanies the genres pacing style anyway.

As the main character, the graveminder Rebekkah sort-of sucks. She's distant, stubborn, annoying at times with being so uptight toward people, doesn't give chances, never lets her guard down, and has a massive chip on her shoulder. Byron as the male main is much more likeable and easy to sympathize with. The townspeople are intriguing enough with their backdrop melodrama, but what really shines are the dead, especially Mr. D. There are a lot of secrets buried there with interior motives I'd enjoy reading about.

One thing that did irritate me was the author's dialogue skills. They were pausing, hesitant, and choppy. It kept taking me out of the book during every scene - action shots or not. I think this was one reason I took longer to read this one than normal and why it didn't hold my attention as strongly. The final half started it's redemption, earning another star for its rating.

Since it claims to be a modern day gothic, does it work as one? In a way it does. Slow pacing, secretive buildups. In ways it works with horror with zombie type munchings. And in ways it works as romance with fate (but restricted.) Overall it works as a pretty good book with a few flaws, but such a cool story it's worth picking up.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
June 15, 2011
For the most part, I really enjoyed Graveminder. The plot was pretty cool. I don't want to give too much away, but it involves zombies and a small town that made a deal with the devil...or so it seems.
My only complaint was that I didn't really like the main character very much. She was pretty annoying for the first half of the book, with her commitment issues and guilt. Still, she redeemed herself toward the end of the book by really stepping up to the plate.

The book has a nice tidy ending, so there's none of that Gotcha!-It-Ended-On-A-Cliffhanger-Now-You-Have-To-Buy-My-Next-Book-Mwahahaha! feeling to it. However, there are enough questions left unanswered to make me look forward to the next installment!
Profile Image for EA Solinas.
662 reviews34 followers
April 30, 2011
In the town of Claysville, the dead must be scrupulously minded by the Graveminder and the Undertaker... or bad things happen.

"Graveminder" really shows that Melissa Marr has left teenage faerie tales far behind her. Her first adult novel is a much darker, stranger story -- a lushly-written American Gothic set in a small town where death is very different from what it is elsewhere. It takes awhile for everything to settle into place, but the suspenseful journey is worth it.

When her grandmother Maylene is found murdered, Rebekkah Barrow is called back to the town she hasn't lived in for almost a decade -- ever since her stepsister Ella committed suicide. Claysville has a lot of weird traditions and superstitions, including a mysterious connection between the Barrow women and the local undertakers, including Ella and Rebekkah's onetime boyfriend Byron.

But as Rebekkah and Byron try to figure out what happened to Maylene, other people are injured and killed by something roaming through Claysville. The new Graveminder and Undertaker must uncover their connection to the world of the dead, learn why a Hungry Dead girl is roaming through the town -- and stop a horrifying evil that is festering in their town.

Out of the books Melissa Marr has written, "Graveminder" is probably her darkest, eeriest and most organic. She doesn't rely on explicit gore to creep us out, instead allowing the horrifying moments to drift down like dead leaves (such as Daisha "accepting help" from people). Yes, it's even creepier than monsters could ever be.

And Marr's prose is lushly-described and full of rich, small-town-gothic atmosphere. She builds up the story slowly, carefully laying out clues and hints about Claysville, the Graveminders and their connection to the dead, and letting them gradually settle into place. Think of it as a supernatural murder mystery, entwined with an eerie story about a town's links to the world of the dead.

Her characters are equally complex and hauntingly realistic, from the odd old undertaker to the amiable barmaid. Rebekkah is a woman who has run from everything Claysville-related, but now she has to face everything about it -- her love for Byron, her past, her dead sister, and her destiny. At first she seems kind of selfish, but she has a genuinely good heart and strong core.

And Byron's conflicted feelings about Rebekkah, Ella and his preordained life are pretty moving. Even the "Hungry Dead" girl Daisha, who is slowly piecing together how she died, is given a fascinating character despite being... well, dead.

"Graveminder" is a haunting, fascinatingly complex novel that clings to your mind like a cobweb. Possibly Melissa Marr's greatest work yet.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews617 followers
April 22, 2011
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

GRAVEMINDER is the adult debut for YA Paranormal queen Melissa Marr, a very slow building gothic/horror mystery, almost like the movie The Village. There is a small, quaint town populated with mysterious characters most of whom seem to be in on a Big Secret: the dead don’t always stay dead. A legacy, passed down from generation to generation, binds two families to the town in order to magically protect the rest.

The main idea in GRAVEMINDER is fantastic with a big nod to the Hades and Persephone myth. But Marr takes it a step further and creates her own very unique folklore by imagining two complimentary roles: The Graveminder and the Undertaker. Both mythologies work well and really serve to inject the story with a fresh yet seemingly historical context. It was easily my favorite thing about the book.

I did get impatient with the pace and the fact that Rebekkah and Bryan had only one conversation that they just repeated throughout the book (Him: Admit you love me! Her: I can’t, I’m still hung up on my sisters/your ex girlfriend’s death). It made their relationship feel very stale to me. We learn throughout the story exactly what brought them together and then drove them apart, but unfortunately, it felt more like an obligatory romantic obstacle rather that a real emotional feat that I could invest in, and given their situation, it could have been.

Another miss for me was the ‘shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D.’ It was kinda cheesy and felt almost like a different story. There was all this build up about the mystery and the town curse that when that part of it was revealed, I was disappointed. It didn’t have the same gothic horror vibe as the rest of the story and I couldn’t wait to get back to Claysville. Fortunately, that’s what happened and the story finished strong.

Overall, GRAVEMINDER is a big departure for Melissa Marr that is mostly successful. The gothic mystery along with Marr’s easy writing style hooked me and pulled me into to this cursed town, but the romance was repetitive and the reveal was a bit of a let down. Marr fans will want to check it out as well as anyone who enjoys small town mysteries with a supernatural twist. So what’s next for this world? GRAVEMINDER has already been optioned for a television show by Ken Olin (Alias and Brothers & Sisters), and Melissa has confirmed that she’s working on a sequel.

Sexual Content:
Vague references to rape. A scene of sensuality.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,108 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.