Alex Craft #2
by Kalayna Price
Published on July 5, 2011 by Roc
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft.
After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L” word confession from Death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.
The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses, only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end—her own.
Well. It sort of improved on the first book.
I mean, I don’t go into urban fantasies with very high expectations anymore if I’m being perfectly honest. They tend to be pretty formulaic regardless of the author, the characters, all of it, so I usually know what I’m getting into. So far with the Alex Craft books, there are witches and faeries (no other supernatural creatures have been mentioned as of yet), as well as the shades and ghosts of the dead but that comes with the whole “grave witch” business. There’s a murder investigation. The protagonist is involved in said investigation. Romance comes into play here and there.
Nothing I haven’t read before.
In Grave Witch, Alex found out she has a particular talent with looking through different planes of existence which was never really discussed as it fell near the end of the book. I had hoped that there would be some sort of explanation in Grave Dance but, instead, she just uses this new gift defeating the next villain’s minions. It just… happens. I don’t like magic that just happens. I need some sort of substance in a magic system to make me believe it and so far there isn’t much of one beyond innate abilities in these books.
The story is, once more, a murder mystery with a supernatural twist. But unlike Grave Witch, I couldn’t connect the dots in this one and the reveal at the end didn’t make sense. It seemed a bit random, to be honest, and I’m not sure if the events of this book will lead into the next one or not. There were a lot of little snippets of information that felt out of place, as if Price was trying to lay the groundwork for future books by mentioning things here and there. But it didn’t really work. Grave Dance felt like a mash-up of scenes that weren’t meant to go together in the way they were presented.
As for the characters, they were pretty much the same as last time. Alex is doing what she does best with seeing the worlds of the living and dead. Falin is still sticking around with plenty of secrets. Death is still supposedly super hot and swooning over Alex but it’s forbidden and I have no clue what’s going on there (he just kind of appears and gets all protective then disappears). Alex’s friends are there… but not really? They feel more like names on the page than actual people.
A few new characters were introduced but not really given much depth so I’m not sure if they were meant to serve the plot’s purpose just in this book or if we’ll see them again. I see potential for the Winter Queen. She seems like she could be a dynamic addition to the story.
Overall, I wasn’t super impressed with this sequel but it did expand the world a bit, even if much of it wasn’t explained. Grave Witch kicked off the series but this feels like a set-up book for the next one so hopefully I’m right about that.