So if there was a town that made a deal with death that the town would enjoy health and good fortune in exchange for everyone who was born there having to be buried there and made to keep from walking by a hereditary Graveminder and an Undertaker, and then the dead started walking and eating people because of a reluctant Graveminder, that would be a pretty cool story, wouldn’t it?
Such is the conceit of Melissa Marr’s Graveminder, in which Bekka, shocked over the death of the previous Graveminder, her grandmother, resists her fated role as stalker of the dead until it’s almost too late. Throw in a preordained romance with an equally unprepared Undertaker, and you have the makings of a supernatural romance that might explore determinism vs. free will in an interesting way.
Sorry. No dice. Marr succeeds at fleshing out an original mythology, sustaining a mood of slowly increasing creepiness and making the walking dead scary but also kind of pitiable. Unfortunately, Bekka, the main character, who should be sympathetic or at least interesting, is nothing more than a dishrag who spends over half the book insisting that she is not in love with the Undertaker. Multiple scenes go by in which she and Byron, the Undertaker, dance around the subject of their mutual attraction and complicated past, then stall out. I keep wanting to yell at Bekka: "Stop it! You’re preventing the plot from moving forward!" Alas, she does not heed me.
Yet, despite my objections, I am finishing the book because I want to see what happens.
Labeled "vampires" because it involves people coming back from the dead and eating other people.
EDIT: Well, things picked up toward the end when more dead people started going on a human-chewing rampage, and there was a bit of a conspiracy going on, but, all in all, this book was destroyed by repetitive conversations and poor pacing.