Gravemaidens is a richly imagined fantasy debut that focuses on the bonds of sisterhood amongst a looming backdrop of human sacrifice. This story does not shy away from the violence and gore that takes place in the kingdom of Alu, so keep that in mind when diving into this deliciously dark fantasy.
Kammani is the daughter of the former greatest healer in the kingdom of Alu. Even though he was the best ruler in Alu, he was unable to save the life of the ruler’s son. The ruler retaliated by stripping his title and taking his son Kasha to serve at the palace. Following the passing of her mother, Kammani’s father drowns his grief in alcohol, which makes it almost impossible to heal anyone. Kammani is forced to abandon her own childhood to become a mother to her sister, the next generation healer, as well as the breadwinner for their family. All Kammani wants in life is to restore her family’s honor by becoming the next greatest healer like her father.
In the kingdom of Alu, when the Lugal (ruler) falls ill, three maidens are selected in a highly esteemed festival. When the Lugal dies, these three girls will be sacrificed and accompany him to the afterlife as his wives. The girls chosen are typically between the ages of 15-16, are gorgeous, and come from a family with status. Since Kammani’s family has is shamed, she never thought to worry about Nanea, her sister whose beauty rivaled even that of the ruler’s daughter. That is…until Nanea is selected as one of the three maidens. Now Kammani must do whatever it takes to keep Nanea from being sacrificed, even if it’s against Nanea’s wishes.
Kammani is such a fantastic protagonist because she’s so incredibly strong, independent, and determined. That being said, she is not without flaws. Since she was forced to become both the caretaker and provider of her family at such a young age, she is unwilling to accept the aid of others even when she absolutely should. I really enjoyed watching the metamorphosis of her character as well as her learning to accept help in order to ultimately save Nanea. Nanea was the picture perfect, carefree younger sibling that could care less about responsibility and duty. As an older sibling myself, there were definitely times that I found Nanea frustrating.
Overall, Gravemaidens is a stunning introduction to this duology laced with incredible world building, enthralling characters, and a compelling fantasy plot. If you love stories that focus on familial bonds while allowing you to be swept up into a fantasy realm then you need this book now!
Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 3315 KB
- Print Length: 403 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0525647821
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (29 October 2019)
- Sold by: PRH US
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07PBS3LGV
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 35 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #344,162 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)