This book was provided for review by The Write Reads as part of a blog tour. Thank you!
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.
Chasing Graves by Ben Galley is the first book in a trilogy of the same name and unlike some books this tale hits the ground running. From the first pages where we are introduced to Caltro Basalt and learn just how much of a prick he can be, to the final paragraphs where we learn the true identity of the woman named Nilith, each page just adds to the thrilling ride that is this book.
The city of Araxes is a city of ghosts, not just figuratively but literally as well. When a person dies their soul can be bound to the land of the living and once bound they become little more than a piece of property. They are bought and sold with little care, their destiny to work for whomever is willing to pay the price to own them. And as the spirits do not rest and do not need food nor water, they are the perfect workforce to build an empire.
Galley has done an exceptional job in building the world that Chasing Graves takes place. Not only has he built the city and surrounding lands with his words, but he has given the areas inhabitants that are believable. The deserts are vast and surviving there is not for the weak with only a few handful of nomads even trying. The same can be said for the city of Araxes itself; for while there are many many more people living there, it is not a nice place to live. From the lowest slums to the upper reaches, Galley shows just how cruel each place can be.
It is clear that Chasing Graves is meant to be the first part of a series. Sprinkled throughout the book a tantalizing hints of what could be to come. Just as the characters wonder what could possibly happen next, the reader is left the same way too.
I personally enjoyed reading Chasing Graves. I found the plot to be nicely paced and the characters well written. I heartily recommend the book to my readers and eagerly await the next book in the series.