cover image Cursed by Death

Cursed by Death

Melissa Marr. MM INK, $15.99 trade paper (308p) ISBN 978-1-953909-00-8

Bestseller Marr returns to the world of 2011’s Graveminder with this equally quirky but uneven follow-up, which picks up where the first book left off but still manages to be accessible for newcomers. Unbeknownst to most townsfolk, the dead of Claysville occasionally wake and attack the living thanks to a curse placed on the small town centuries ago. Rebekkah Barrow and Byron Montgomery have finally accepted their roles as Claysville’s Graveminder and Undertaker, respectively, the mandated caretakers to the town’s Hungry Dead. Meanwhile, Rebekkah’s friend Amity Blue, still reeling from the death of her sister, Bonnie Jean, starts to question things she’d previously accepted about Claysville: Why does no one ever get sick? And why is it that no one born there ever leaves? Her pursuit of answers floods her with half-formed, headache-inducing memories and thrusts her into Rebekkah’s hidden world as she learns the dark truth of Claysville’s curse. The blurred line between life and death somewhat lowers the stakes, and the worldbuilding leaves many questions unanswered. The saving grace is Marr’s skillful hand at crafting fascinating, multilayered characters. Series fans will be delighted to revisit Marr’s colorful cast but may hope for more action and clarity in future installments. (Self-published)