Early 5!Bat Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

January 26, 2016 Review 2

Early 5!Bat Review: Shallow Graves by Kali WallaceShallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 26, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368
Source: Edelweiss
Sexual Content: References to sex.
Reviewed by: Julia
5 Stars

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.

Breezy is many things.  She could be described variously as a teenager, undead, biracial, bisexual... And yet, she is most strongly and ferociously herself. She is a scientist. She is disciplined. She truly is the type of person who devotes herself to a profession and works from a young age to reach the stars.

And it is this beautifully drawn depth of character that allows the reader to immerse themselves into this dark and unknown world alongside our own.  The realism of her experiences make even the most fantastical elements of her life emotionally resonant.  Breezy's scientific mindset that allows her to catalog and explore her undeath, even as she tries to process the unimaginable grief of her own death.  The losses pile up, her family, her professional aspirations, her future... all either lost forever or changed so radically as to be unrecognizable.  The mundane mystery of her own death felt harder to believe than Breezy's grief that she will never become an astronaut, as somehow the emotional state of an undead teenage becomes more visceral than the petty evils that do exist in real life.

While Breezy explores the world around her through a scientific lense, SHALLOW GRAVES doesn't feel dry or clinical.  Rather, this oh so human attempt to build a rational concept of this new dark, unexpected world made the most fantastical elements feel real. While the world building has strengths and weaknesses, the main character rock solid.  I enjoyed this book, but above and beyond that, I loved Breezy.

More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • Seanan McGuire's twisty ghost story, SPARROW HILL ROAD, follows another young person living with an early death.  Supernatural fans in particular will love how urban myths are explored and explained in this world.
  • Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series follows several teens navigating the dark, addicting world of faerie.  Happily ever afters are few and hard fought, but characters adjust to the new normal of life after magic.

2 Responses to “Early 5!Bat Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace”

  1. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Oooh nice! I am really excited for this one! I love a good “ghost” book! One where she’s the main character just sounds even way cooler! Glad you enjoyed it! Nice review!

    • Julia

      Hope you like it, Jessica! I’m the opposite, I’m a hard sell on a book where the main character is already dead… not to mention so whimsically named. But Breezy is the best, though more corporeal than a ghost. Let me know what you think!