Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: The Reburialists by J.C. Nelson

The Reburialists
J. C. Nelson
Release: March 1, 2016
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The author of Wish Bound and the Grimm Agency novels returns with an all-new urban fantasy novel!

Burying the dead is easy.  Keeping them down is difficult.

At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich.

The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave.

With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .

Review by Rose Red:

The Reburialists was the first book of J. C. Nelson's that I've read even though I have had several friends tell me to pick up her Grimm Agency series. This book was... I'm not sure if I have the eloquence to describe my reading experience. It was definitely something else and not my usual urban fantasy fare. I'll be honest. When I first started the book I wasn't sure I liked the writing style or the main characters much. Actually, I really didn't like the main characters at all. They're both very unlikeable. In fact, I was convinced that I was going to dislike the book overall. The thing is I was enjoying the hell out of the mythology and the worldbuilding so I kept reading. Sometime between when I started and when I hit 30% of the way through, my feelings about everything changed almost without me realizing they had. I got sucked in. 

Now everything didn't automatically become hunky dory once I was sucked in. The characters made some stupid decisions that I literally yelled at them for and I was tempted to throw my iPad against across the room on several occasions while reading. Seriously, Brynner. You're a macho idiot for most of the book. And Grace, you weren't much better. It took most of the story for these two to become likeable for me. Each character's growth was believable and well done. I actually can't pinpoint where in the book my opinion changed but I ended up loving the characters by the end. There were a couple of characters that my hate for just increased the whole story. There's one character that I loved from almost the instant she appeared on the page but I won't talk about her because spoilers.

The one thing that was a constant for me was how much I loved the mythology and the worldbuilding! A world where the dead don't stay dead and morticians are experienced and battle-hardened veterans that get hazard pay to do their jobs and know that the first thing you do with a dead body is cut the tendons in the back of their legs. Not only that but a whole government agency came into being to work with the police to combat them with everything from religion to science. I loved it so much! I was pleasantly surprised how well developed the world was. I really adored this take on zombies! For the most part, they weren't the mindless, brain-eating parasites I've come to expect in zombie books. Actually, the dead are more of a creature that is part mummy and part zombie that can be controlled via necromancy which was fascinating! Of course, there were a few mindless ones but for the most part they were intelligent and hard to get rid of. I loved that the Re-Animus were basically non-corporeal necromancers! The mythology was definitely my favorite part of this book and I would recommend reading it just for that. Also, I totally didn't see most of the twists coming and the ending surprised the heck out of me.

My feelings over the course of this book were complicated but by the end it had redeemed itself. I was actually surprised when I finished and realized that I had actually enjoyed it despite the rough start. I'm not sure if this is a standalone or the start of a series. It worked very well as a standalone and I kind of hope it is one. The detailed world building and intricate mythology with characters far from the urban fantasy norm make this one an easy recommendation for all who love zombies, apocalyptic, and urban fantasy books. Me ending up liking this book may be my biggest reading surprise of 2016.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 / 5 Stars

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