I’m excited to be a part of this huge, ultimate blog tour with TheWriteReads On Tour! There were four choices but I had to read this book. Chasing Graves looked like an amazing book just by the cover but also by the plot. A story about ghosts being bound to the living and serving as slaves? What is this? I had to know!
I wasn’t sure what to expect though because despite the premise this is a fantasy novel and I find that those are hit or miss for me but I was willing to give this one a go because it just seemed too good to pass up. It wasn’t small one either, at 301 pages, it is an impressive start to this series so let’s get into the review!
Book one of The Chasing Graves Trilogy
Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just the start of your problems.
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 first thing I will say about this book is that it’s obvious all the work that Ben put into the history and lore for this world. He built with wonderful depth a place that has gods and ghosts, slaves and soulstealers, emperors and sereks. The sprawling landscape that we get to terrain with the characters gives the world massive size. Showcasing that this isn’t just a small city but so much more.
The Tenets were written by the Nyxites, then came the Arc’s Code, which was adopted across the lands. Society was upheaved. Dynasties were built. The gods were declared dead. Murder became fashionable. Here we were, a millennium on.Ben Galley – Chasing Graves
Each chapter gives a snippet of a book from this world that really adds to the depth that he created. It would be my favorite aspect of this book because a world like this is one that I can really dive into and it’s those small touches that really make all the difference. I found those little bits fun because they taught you about the history and the people.
The characters are insanely unlikable for me. I actually hated them all. It was odd because despite that I found myself interested in what happened to them, where they took me, and whether their paths would intertwine. What sticks out for me was that they weren’t good people. They were real and driven by desire, power, or greed. They weren’t the ‘hero’ or the ‘good guy’. They were multi-dimensional characters that made this all the more interesting. They had flaws and they didn’t pretend to be anything but what they were.
I was already backing away, searching for nooks, crannies or any other apertures that would hide me. My heart was trying to punch it’s way through my ribcage. The rumors were true after all.Ben Galley – Chasing Graves
Chapters flipped between first and third person depending on the characters. At first I didn’t much like this but that is just a personal preference and something that I got used to. Some people find that less jarring then others but it didn’t take away from the story once I did get in the swing of it.
Caltro is the only character in first person which gave me the immediate impression that he’s the main character of the story. The other characters are in third which may make them secondary characters but they had intriguing events happen to them and overall I felt like they were just as important as Caltro to everything that happened.
It was almost as if the flesh I had worn throughout the years had dampened the soul’s emotions, like cloth clamped over ears. Now I was bare, raw, defended by terror and despair.Ben Galley – Chasing Graves
The pacing for the book felt strange where some chapters seemed slow and others all the action happened but I think that isn’t good or bad, it just is. It’s a different way to set up a story and there is nothing wrong with that. Pacing is one of those things that it can depend on the reader what they like and don’t like.
Some books fly by and you feel like there wasn’t enough time, others go at a snails pace. This didn’t feel like it was too fast or too slow overall but some chapters were harder to enjoy the others. That, again, is a personal preference and I can be a little weird about pacing so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
When you’re in the business of breaking into things and profiting from their contents, guilt is like mould. It is either a fungus that slowly withers away through starvation, or a rot which grows into a beast that consumes you. It all depends how much you feed it.Ben Galley – Chasing Graves
It’s clear that this book is a set up for the next one and that’s not a bad thing at all. In books that are within a series you don’t need to answer all the questions that pop up right away, you have time to flesh out those answers. I think that this is a book that will pay off for the reader and leave you with wanting more. I am looking forward to what happens next and where this story leads.
About the Author:
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
I want to say thank you to TheWriteReads for letting me be a part of this and please check out all the other book bloggers in our gang that are a part of this massive tour for these four books!