I received an epub of this title in exchange for my review on The Write Reads Blog Tour.
Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.
They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.
While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.
Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning…
The concept of shade-binding (ie- enslaving the soul of a corpse in the form of a ghost) was a refreshingly original plot for a SFF. It was this that originally stoked my interest, and whilst the synopsis made me wonder if having so many characters would make the book hard to follow I was happily proven wrong.
The world building in Chasing Graves is phenomenal. The balance between description, action and dialogue was absolutely perfect. Galley sets each scene brilliantly without slowing the pace.
I was pleased with the formatting of the book. Having the origin and laws of shade-binding laid out piece by piece in italics below each chapter heading meant I got a good grasp of the idea without having a massive info dump. Each stage is explained simply and concisely as it becomes relevant to the story.
There are four concurrent storylines to follow. The rise of criminal Boss Temsa, the scheming or Empress Sisine, Niliths journey with her shade husband Farazar and the secret project of Widow Horix. I assume the main character Caltro will be the key to them all but you won’t find out how in this book.
I spent much of the book wondering how and when things would tie together and just as they began to… it ended! Whilst I really enjoyed Chasing Graves it felt like a lot of side story without enough main plot advancement. It’s a fantastic opening to what I think will be an incredible series BUT i felt like I’d been given 3/4 of a book.
I had a massive AHA! moment (though I’ve heard other readers saw it coming, I was completely thrown by it) but then ten pages later the book came to an abrupt end. I will definitely be reading the next one as I’m totally invested in the characters and their secrets, but to my mind the first instalment finished too early. I’m left feeling like the book was put down unfinished rather than it being a planned cliffhanger.
Well you got me Ben! I need to know now!
Must. Keep. Reading.
This was my second contribution to UltimateBlogTours run by the fabulous Dave at TheWriteReads, you can see the first right here; Blog Tour Review; After The Green Withered – Kristin Ward.
If you’d like to join the gang in reviewing indie authors then come! Join us! Head over to Twitter and contact Dave to get your spot in the fastest growing book community online.