Review: Grave Shifter by Gretchen Rily

Grave shifter Penelope rises from the grave she’s been hiding in to find she’s been summoned by the man who betrayed her. Vampire Galen ran her through with a sword, and she’s eager to return the favor.

But it’ll have to wait, because Galen comes bearing an official directive – assassinate the dark lord who played a part in her betrayal, and when she’s done, she’ll get to kill Galen, too. Oh, goody. All she has to do is keep her hands  – and her emotions – to herself long enough to succeed. Galen, on the other hand, has no intention of dying, and he’s come up with a plan that will solve all their problems.

Penelope kicks ass. I love her snark, and her fear at being vulnerable before Galen, her hesitance to trust him again after what he did to her, combine with her foul mouth to form a complex and intriguing heroine. She carries swords and isn’t afraid to use them. Plus bad words give her the happies, so how can you not like her?

Galen… Galen Galen Galen. Prim, prissy, Galen. Only he’s not really all that prim and prissy. Strong, deadly, head over tailcoat for Penelope (and afraid to let her know it), it’s his delicious accent and fastidious dress that makes him come off as a bit of a tightass. He doesn’t relish the thought of getting his Italian leather shoes covered in demon goo, but if it saves Penelope’s ass, he’d do it in a blink.

Their connection is intense and vibrant from the start, the angst and animosity taking a backseat to chemistry. While it doesn’t take long for them to end up in bed together, it does take a little while longer for them to actually have sex, and the heightened anticipation makes for a pretty explosive interlude. It also doesn’t magically resolve their issues. Penelope still leery of trusting Galen and his plan, especially since he won’t tell her much about it, and Galen still won’t open up to Penelope, even though he’s longing to.

The world of Grave Shifter is a creative one. Grave shifters draw power from the dead, using it to reform and shift anywhere in the world, kind of like teleportation. They fight off demons and hellhounds and dispatch whomever the Council decide needs to die. Part of Galen’s scheme involves the Estate, and his hopes for it and other grave shifters.

Here’s where the story falls a little short. As a novella, there’s only a finite amount of time to tell the story, and it’s hard to tell a complete one in so few words. While Rily does an admirable job fleshing out her main characters and keeping the focus on them, I would have liked a little more action and build up to the climax, and more explanation of what the Estate is (I’m assuming it’s the place the shifters live, but it’s not clear).

Grave Shifter is a quick, fun read, and a great introduction to a new series. I’ve got grabby hands for book two. So where is it?

Copy of Grave Shifter provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Grave Shifter is FREE on Amazon through tomorrow, May 24th.


2 thoughts on “Review: Grave Shifter by Gretchen Rily

  1. Umm…it’s still in my head. Okay, part of it is drafted. But I’ll send you over a copy as soon as it’s done!

    Thank you for taking the time to review! I’m so glad you like Penelope and Galen’s story. They’ll be making little guest appearances in future Grave Shifter World novellas.

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