Friday, April 27, 2012

The Kingdom

The Kingdom
By Amanda Stevens

This is the second book in the Graveyard Queen series. See my review of The Restorer here. This book continues the story of Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer. She is now quite famous after her last restoration brought some media attention (won't spoil this by saying more). She is not so well-known as someone who can see ghosts. She does all she can to avoid them and to act as though she does not see and hear them.

Amelia has taken a job in the dying town of Asher Falls, South Carolina. But from the very first moments, she feels drawn to this place and believes there is a reason she is there. Amelia's character is less focused in this novel. She has left behind someone she had fallen in love with and had a very harrowing experience. Nothing she does seems to get the right response from others and she feels she has crossed a line with some spirits that she can never erase. She is much more easily scared but perhaps this town is a scarier place -- in part because of the evil that seems to exist here and the fact that everything feels somewhat familiar.

Amelia does have another love interest but is not sure she can trust him. She adopts a stray who seems to know as well as she when ghosts are present. The woman who hired her now seems out to get her. The ghost who keeps appearing to her seems to be able to read her thoughts. Meanwhile, someone else seems determined to get more from Amelia than she is willing to give.

I wasn't sure I liked this book as well as the first -- Amelia seemed so flighty and whiny. In addition, the town seemed like such an odd place. Eventually, her fears were revealed to be well-founded and real. I did despair over the fact that she seems to always get stuck in underground tombs. The ghosts are not as scary as the people in this book. However, the back story and the plot really led this book and made me anxious for the next one (The Prophet).

What did this book have to do with my faith? This book made me think about hallowed ground and thin places. For Stevens, hallowed ground is usually where a cemetery, church or other holy place has been somehow marked or set aside. This is where, for Amelia, there are no ghosts. A thin place for Stevens is where this world and the world of evil is, well, thin. This allows for the possibility for demons and other evil spirits to take over weak souls or cause other harm. For me, hallowed ground is holy ground. I don't know about ghosts but it certainly means set-apart or a place where God is very present. I think this may mean that different places can be hallowed ground for different people. A thin place for me is a communion of saints sort of place.  I think those who are very sick or dying are part of these thin places - more an event in time than a place. The whole point with my faith is that we have become so scientific in our thinking that we have denied any sense of the holy, the other, or even the truly Spiritual. I like the fact that Stevens gets me to think about the sense of the Spiritual in my own beliefs.

I recommend The Kingdom.

Happy reading!


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