Review: The Restorer By Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen #1)

Posted on 04/18/2011 in Book Review / 16 Comments

Review: The Restorer By Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen #1)The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Published by MIRA on 4/19/2011
Genres: Adult, Southern Gothic
Pages: 376
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon









My father’s rules.


I’ve never broken them…until now.


My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.


It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

“I was nine when I saw my first ghost.”
It’s rare that an opening line grabs me as this one did. In that one sentence, I was sucked in for the rest of the book. It’s also not often that I love a book so much I want to shove it into the hands of the first (possibly unwilling) pair of hands I see and yell, “read this read this READ THIS!” The Passage by Justin Cronin was one of them, The Fever Series by Karen Moning another. It was that good. It kept me up at night, turning pages. I was distracted while helping a friend paint, because all I could think was “I want to get back to my book.” In the end, it took me just over a full 24 hours to read it. I simply could not put it down. It has become a member of “The Measuring Stick Books” – books by which I measure all others:

Friend: OMG have you read such-and-such by so-and-so?! Me: Is it as good as The Passage/Fever/The Restorer? Friend: Well… Me: Bottom of the TBR pile.

It made me anxious for its characters, envious of the town’s residents, intrigued by the secrecy, frightened by the apparitions and ultimately, wanting to know who the “bad guy” was. Each time I was sure I knew, I found out how incredibly wrong I was. That’s how I judge a spectacular author: make me live your book and I’m going to love you, slobber at your feet and ache for your recognition. Stevens incorporates strong characters (both primary and secondary), smooth plot lines and twists so staggering, they make you dizzy. The first-person narrative (’cause you know how I love my first-person) is exceptionally well written, the plot intriguing and it is entirely a heart-palpitating read. Stevens deftly wraps together all these wonderful components of a novel and just delivers it to our feet with a big ol’ bow. Merry Christmas! I don’t care if it’s April. I can’t wait for the follow-up to this absolutely fantastic book. Amanda Stevens, you rock!


About The Author: Amanda Stevens lives in Houston with her husband, Steven, and a black cat named Lola.  She is an avid reader, a wannabe taphophile, and a collector of all things Alfred Hitchcock. When she’s not writing, she likes taking road trips to Austin.  And to Marfa.  And to old cemeteries.  To read more on Amanda, click here.

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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.

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16 responses to “Review: The Restorer By Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen #1)

  1. Leannnnnnne!

    And to believe it was her first first-person novel. She's a dreamweaver, that lady. I love her. Fantastic review!

  2. Neri

    Loved the review! I felt that way about this book too! I couldn't get enough of it, did you read the prequel (The Abandoned) it's available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Can't wait for book 2 to come out in November. 🙂

  3. Fireflywishes

    Great review!! I see Neri posted that there is a prequel.. will have to check it out now! I will read whatever Amanda Stevens writes!!

  4. Jennifer

    I saw the prequel listed on the publisher's site (I think) for free download. It's at the top of my TBR list. I'm sure it's going to be excellent. 🙂

  5. Cait

    Fantastic review, I totally get what you mean about wanting to throw this book at everyone. I literally expect all my friends to read it. They're all getting it for christmas.

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  12. Jennifer..i cannot believe you mentioned Cronin too..hilarious but so friggin true..i recommend that book and the twelve to everyone, and i have been doing the same thing with the Restorer..i think half of the book club i belong to purchased it to shut me up..but omg once they read it..they sounded just like me!!! Awesome review!

  13. Midnyte Reader

    I agree with you on that first line. I loved this book too. It was so beautiful and I loved the romance part and the history of the characters.

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