Price, Kalayna: Alex Craft series

GRAVE WITCH (2010) – Maggie Award of Excellence 2011 – Paranormal

Cover for Polish Grave Witch by LeafOfSteel

The one constant in Alex Craft’s life is Death. Ever since she was 5, she has been able to interact with him. Her mess of a family is another certainty in Alex’ life. Her ability to raise shades and do magic is shameful in a family where the father campaigns against just that.

Thankfully, Alex has more than Death as a friend. She has her dog PC, her landlord Caleb, Holly, Tamara and John, her detective friend. When John asks her to investigate a high stakes murder, Alex finds trouble.

Grave Witch is an old-fashioned mystery with ghosts, fae and magic thrown in. As is so common in a lot of urban fantasy there is romantic tension. In Grave Witch we find that in homicide detective Falin Andrews. For some reason he has decided that Alex is a quack and resents having to work with her.

Having been introduced to two men who are hotties (Death and Falin), we know right away that there is going to be a love triangle. It’s just the way these books go. Once you’ve accepted that, then you’ve got an action-packed, soul-sucking urban fantasy that is a pretty good read.

GRAVE DANCE 2011

Soul collector by Hiimlucifer

We continue our journey in the city of Nekros. Alex Craft is still estranged from her family and is first and foremost a grave witch. But her power developed a great deal in the previous book, and she is now discovering more about her fae side.

Because of the fame incurred in Grave Witch, Tongues of the Dead is doing well. This time Alex is called in to investigate the unusual discovery of left feet.

Her investigations make it necessary for Alex to take a trip into the land of faery. She is guided by Falin, but does not know if he can be trusted. As his allegiance has been given to the Winter Queen, it would be a safe bet to assume that she cannot. Death is still a large part of her life. We still have a love-triangle. I find them silly, but it seems they are the THING in these types of urban fantasy novels.

In spite of the love triangle Alex is helped greatly by all of her friends: Death, Falin, Roy, Caleb, Holly, Tamara, and PC. She will need all the help she can get in dealing with the dangers thrown her way.

I liked the development of Alex Craft. She gained more depth and the people around here weren’t quite as two-dimensional. It’s still not quite there, but Kalayna is certainly heading the right way in her Alex Craft series.

Winter Queen by Andreea Cernestean

GRAVE MEMORY (2012)

Kalayna Price has really nailed the writing in Grave Memory.  The previous installments were pretty average, but Grave Memory has taken Price up a notch in my regard. I like that in a writer. It’s not really the story that makes the difference, but rather the way Kalayna ties her words together into beautiful music. Just remember that this is an urban fantasy and is supposed to be a light read.

Falin is still in the clutches of the Winter Queen and that makes him less than reliable. Alex is kind of naive about him in Grave Memory, but then we tend to be like that when we care about a person. She and Death take their relationship to the next level and it seems as if they might possibly become exclusive. But as all good series do, preparation for the next book comes towards the end. Twisty twist, but not wholly unexpected.

This time the pressure is on Alex to choose whether she will be an independent fae or attached to one of the courts. She still knows very little about the fae world, although Rianna and Caleb are trying to educate her. Along with the usual fae pressure, Alex gets into to trouble with the police because she goes on and on about apparent suicides. She will not accept that verdict and begins investigating the whole thing. That lands her into trouble with Death’s colleagues. Some of that trouble is deserved, because Alex messes up on this/these cases.

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p style=”text-align:left;” align=”center”>I’ll buy the next installment of the Alex Craft series when it comes along. My fascination with the series has grown. I like the world Price has created in Nekros and its fae version. If her writing improves as it has to date, then I’m in for a treat.

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