"For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.
When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace."
What exactly is going on in Shallow Graves? Well, Breezy has woken up and she is so much different than before. She is... a zombie (zombie being a very loose term) who can regenerate and take lives (souls) of murderers. She is thrown for a tumble when someone drugs her and then sends her into a tiny room, clearly knowing what she is. Breezy may not know what she is, but she is definitely searching for the truth.
Breezy is a really interesting character, and her voice and characteristics is definitely not one would find very frequently in books. She puts science above magic, at least she does in the beginning. She makes a bunch of suicide tests and wonders why she can't die. She takes data of how she dies and knows that no matter how far she is broken, her body will heal. Then she is captured, and she must figure out whether or not she is a monster her captors claim she is or the human she believes herself to be. It's the age-old question.
The plot is packed with action. In the beginning, the book starts off with Breezy going serial killer hunting. And she does indeed find a killer (though not a serial killer) who is on the hunt for his second victim. Bam! He dies. It gives an aura of mystery over Breezy's powers, and I'm curious to exactly what she does. (Soul taking? Soul theft? Soul... Well, something one of those Dementors do to their victims? But in reverse? Like taking the darkness out of the souls instead? Don't know. And the topic itself isn't very addressed.)
The villain... Well, it's actually villains. Depending on which part of the story the reader is in, the villain differs. It's hard to tell who exactly is the real one, because there are so many of them. The Mother. The priest. The priest's lackey. The murderers themselves (minor villains). But they all help define Breezy a bit more and help her figure out who she is, and that is awesome.
The ending is a very satisfying part. Though Breezy doesn't go to a bloody rampage of death and revenge, she does find a purpose. Her personal mission of discovering things, in fact. She may not join NASA (who knows how they will react to a zombie-like girl?), but she'll be happy. And once again, that is awesome.
Overall, Shallow Graves is most certainly not what I expected. But it's a really good read about a girl who is, at first, asking the wrong questions until she, like a true scientist, stumbles onto the right one. Great plot, good moments of action, and a really terrifying monster(s).
Rating: Four out of Five