Monday, May 26, 2014

Young Adult Review: The Caged Graves

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni, May 14, 2013. 329 pages. Published by Clarion Books. Source: library.
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.
First Sentence:
Even facing probably death, Private Silas Clayton couldn't stop thinking about that leather satchel.


So, when I last visited the library in order to return a stack of books I had finished, I decided to browse the shelves, which is never a good idea, when I came across The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni. The title and then cover are what first caught my eye, and then the synopsis pulled me in because I wanted to know the mystery behind the caged graves. In short, I was intrigued and wanted answers.

Even though The Caged Graves has a slight love triangle I, for once, did not mind. I know craziness! While I am generally not one for enjoying books with love triangles, the one in this book was interesting because Verity had to discover just who it was her heart belonged to. I loved how as the book progressed you could see Verity slowly realizing who it was she loved. To be honest, it was quite sweet, especially at the end.
      Enough about the romance in the book! One of the reasons I found myself enjoying Dianne Salerni's book so much is the mystery behind the caged graves, and how she wove it all together to give reason, even if it's just a fictional reason, for something that actually exists. Without even knowing what the book's about, the idea of graves cages off is slightly haunting as you wonder what would drive someone to do that. While I won't tell y'all why they are like that in the book; I enjoyed watching the way the truth unraveled as Verity learned more of her mother and the secrets that she had been spared while away.

So, what about Dianne Salerni's book made this a worthwhile read for me, well, that would be her ability to create characters that seemed so real, and the way they emotionally evolved throughout the book. I loved the steely strength that Verity possessed that made her keeping looking for the truth, as well, as seeing her slowly learn what it was her heart wanted. Seriously though, this is one of the few books were I can honestly say that I enjoyed the romantic bits.
    Now, with how much I enjoyed her characters and reading their stories, it was her writing that pulled me in page after page. With each page I read of The Caged Graves I found myself enjoying it more and more. So much so, that I was irritated when I had to put it down.

While I found myself loving this book more with each passing page, the only thing that lessened my appeal for it would be that I figured out what had happened pretty early on. From the introduction of certain characters my suspicions were raised because I just did not trust them. Solely from things that were said, I was able to sleuth out the truth of what happened to Verity's mother and aunt, as well, as who was behind some other things. Even though I pretty much had the book unraveled early on, I enjoyed the writing so much because the author did an excellent job with the characters.

Final Verdict: The Caged Graves- Slowly won me over as I read each page. I loved watching the feelings bloom between two of the characters and the mystery that surrounded the caged graves.

The Caged Graves earns 4.5 out of 5 griffins

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