Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Prophet by Amanda Stevens

I received this book courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley.

Once I’d finished The Kingdom, the second book in the Graveyard Queen series, I was already antsy waiting for the third book. I practically trolled NetGalley waiting for this title to be made available! Again, the acceptance email was met with a flutter of excitement this intensity of which is really something that maybe I shouldn’t be admitting to! Oh the joys of favourite authors / series!

I was in the middle of another book when I was able to download this one. I briefly toyed with the idea of finishing that one first but that was quickly discarded. The lure of Amelia Gray and the promise of more John Devlin proved to be more than enough to tempt me away from previous reads and leave me ensconced in my chair all evening, oblivious to anything going on around me!

Title: The Prophet
Series: The Graveyard Queen #3
Author: Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Mira
Target Audience: Adult
Pages: 400
Chapters: 41 + epilogue
PoV: 1st person
Tense : Past tense

Story : My name is Amelia Gray. 

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I’ve broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back. 

In order to protect myself, I’ve vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar. 

Now I’m faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts and impressions: This third book brings Amelia back to the setting of the first one. A lot of familiar names and faces crop up with a good number of the (surviving) characters from The Restorer making a reappearance, however brief. Reading it, it almost felt as though the events second book was merely an interlude as although the events are alluded to, they didn’t play a part in this plot.

The notion of the malevolent entity that Amelia calls Evil was introduced as being the consequence she has to face for ignoring her father’s rules. There was, however, no mention of it in this book. The ghosts made a comeback – though with things revolving around John Devlin again that was to be expected. That said, there is an unexpected surprise involving Shani’s ghost. It’s a shame that Evil wasn’t expanded on – I would have liked to have learnt more about it.

Traditional African spiritual beliefs are also introduced in this book in the form of Mariama Goodwine’s cousin. An awful lot of research must have gone into putting all of this together and I was utterly fascinated by all the lore. It was really interesting and a good look into the beliefs surrounding death in another – very different – culture.

The Prophet chronicles Amelia’s investigation into who killed the cop we met as a ghost in The Restorer. He wants release and he’s willing to go so far as to haunt Amelia to get her to do this for him. What’s more, it would seem that whatever message Shani is desperately trying to communicate to her father is also of great importance and the plot soon becomes a mix of unravelling the both mysteries.

This is another way that this third book is very different from the other two. In those, Amelia spends a lot of her time working in graveyards but comparatively little time was spent in one in this book. This meant in turn that there were fewer spine-tingling moments. I’m not sure that my adrenaline really got pumping while reading this one as it did when I was caught up in the other two. Rather, I was pushing on in the mad desire to see where the relationship between Amelia and Devlin would lead. I wouldn’t say that this is a bad thing, just different. As such, it may not work for everyone, especially readers who were more caught up in the graveyard aspect of the books than the romance subplot.

John Devlin is of course back. The scenes between him and Amelia were everything I could have hoped for and more. I was right when I said that Thane Asher was just a diversion to allow Amelia to grow and that it would all be about Devlin in the long run. Even Amelia admits this to herself, and later Devlin, this time around. Of course, his dead wife’s spectre looming over them does tend to put a stopper on things.

The truth about who Mariama really was comes out bit by bit here. Unfortunately, what we know of her (that she’s a malevolent spirit unwilling to pass on, using the ghost of her child as a tether to the realm of the living and intent on making Devlin’s life a misery) clashes with what various people tell us of her from before her death (that everybody loved her). I just couldn’t quite bring myself to buy this. It would have been made more believable if there had been even just one character who hadn’t thought the world of Mariama at some point.

As for the mystery itself, I found that I’d unravelled this one as of early on in the book (which wasn’t the case in either of the first two books) and there weren’t ever really any big, unexpected shocks. A number of things did go unanswered, though, such as why Darius Goodwine chose to return now. In fact, a lot about Darius Goodwine remains unclear. Some of it is understandable, such as the mystery surrounding his traditional practises and the sway he holds over people, but it would have been nice if some things were made clear, such as whether or not he was actually a bad guy.

The ending was the only thing that I didn’t like about the book. It felt uncomfortably rushed. There had been a good few slower moments leading up to this finale, but when it finally took place, a huge number of things seemed to all happen at once – too many for me to fully take everything in and I was left feeling dissatisfied, much as I hate to say it.

I had thought that The Graveyard Queen was a trilogy for some reason, but having finished this book it is blatantly obvious to me now that there are still any number of questions left to be explored. I’m definitely looking forward to where things will take Amelia and Devlin next.

Style: Amanda Stevens has a great, strong voice in Amelia. As soon as she starts, I get hopelessly sucked in.

Final verdict: The Prophet turned out to be a very different ride to that of the first two books but it holds its own against them, even surpassing them in some respects. I was caught up from the first until the very end. Again, I’m left longing for more. 5 stars

Extra notes: Some bad language. Sex is present.


  1. I can't read you entire review because i'll be reading tbis next week. But from the sound of your intro it must be good!

  2. @Braine @ Talk Supe The book is awesome! I'm sure you'll love it, especially if you're already a fan of the previous books. =)

  3. AAh here it is, your amazing review! I agree the end was terrible we only want to read the sequel. I totally agree with your review, I just love the series.

  4. Thanks for the scoop. You do a great job telling me what I need to know.

  5. @Melliane

    Yes! It's an amazing series! I hope we don't have to wait too long for the next book.

  6. I'm going to have to try out this series. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and the African spiritual beliefs sound interesting! Thanks for the great review.


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