I received this book at no cost from the publisherGravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1) by Kelly Coon
Published by Delacorte Press on October 29, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be . . . before their lives changed forever. Before her father was unable to heal the ruler’s dying son and their family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.
When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.
But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is: a death sentence.
Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the dying man, but when she arrives, she discovers more danger lurking in the sandstone corridors than she could ever have imagined. As she searches for a cure, she digs up buried secrets that are as grave as her sister’s gruesome fate, and she will need to use her wits to save the maidens—and the city itself.
KELLY COON is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a former high school English teacher, and a wicked karaoke singer in training. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains. She lives near Tampa with her three sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich.
Kammani’s sister* has been chosen to be a Sacred Maiden which she thinks is wonderful but K knows that is NOT A GOOD THING since her mother is dead and her father is trying to drink himself into an early grave. Her brother was stolen by the king since her father failed to heal his son. Once the greatest healer in all the land, he is now a drunk. K is trying to take his place and save her sister, even if that means giving her own life.
The world-building is well-crafted and reminds me of ancient Egypt culture. Her romance with Dagan shows her insecurities since K never thinks she is good enough. While this story is nothing ground-breaking, it is a well-written fantasy that had me turning the pages. There is some graphic violence but it goes quickly – something that was necessary to move the plot forward. This is the first of a duology so of course, you are left hanging a bit.
*TSTL = too stupid to live