Phil Hornshaw's Reviews > Graves' End

Graves' End by Sean Patrick Traver
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it was amazing

After meeting author Sean Traver a couple of times, I snagged his book for its remarkably low ebook price and dug in. At first it was a little...weird. Traver should be commended for that, actually, because while in the first two or so chapters I was wondering if the book was for me, what I was feeling was the fact that he'd built a very deep and together world. There was a lot going on, a lot under the surface, and I needed time to acclimate.

Then I hit the first chapter with Dexter Graves.

Dex is a 1950s ass-kicking private eye in the best tradition of Marlowe and Spade, and he serves as much of the book's comic relief for reasons I won't outline here. But where most of Graves' End's characters are in on the underlying urban fantasy elements, Dex is as lost as the reader. His situation mirrors ours in more ways than one. It helps that he's both funny and somehow just radiates cool; maybe it's that introductory scene of his in which he just takes apart gangsters with little more than a shotgun, a fedora and a series of dirty looks. After that, I was hooked.

As I mentioned before, the fantasy world here feels alive and breathing, fully formed and beautifully fleshed out. It feels like Traver has done his homework in research, though to be honest I haven't investigated what might be actual mythology and what is invention. That's kind of the point, though -- it all feels grounded and as if it's running on an internal logic. That logic might be unfamiliar and hidden, but it's definitely there; we don't know all the rules, but we're aware that there ARE rules and that they're being followed. Fantasy often invites hand-waving and the ability to ignore fully realizing a world beyond the borders of the story because, you know, magic. Not the case here. The work has been done, and a lot of it, to make those elements much more than just set dressing and convenient literary devices.

At the end, Graves' End was a way fun read. It moves well, it's constantly hitting all the right notes of fantastical and mysterious discovery, but it's light-hearted and often really funny. Recommended.
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Reading Progress

May 27, 2012 – Started Reading
May 27, 2012 – Shelved
May 29, 2012 –
May 29, 2012 –
June 8, 2012 –
June 23, 2012 –
June 24, 2012 –
August 18, 2012 –
August 18, 2012 – Finished Reading

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