The Kingdom

The Kingdom - Amanda Stevens I'd give this one a 2.5This paranormal/horror/mystery novel is the second in the Graveyard Queen series, focusing around Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who has the ability to see the dead. The topic of cemeteries as a link to history and the past has always intrigued me, and the first book was one that I enjoyed (with the exception of a really weird, out-of-place sexual encounter near the end). I was hoping for a bit more of a digging-through-history, learning-about-cemeteries kind of story, but I was kind of disappointed.What I liked about this book... It definitely held my interest, and the mystery that Amelia turns up is intriguing. I wanted to know what really happened, and for the strange occurrences to be explained. Also, I liked that some of the questions about Amelia's past were finally answered -- who her real parents are, why she can see ghosts, etc. There were also some pretty freaky parts that definitely gave me chills, and I give the author credit for those things. (Underwater graveyard? Very creepy. Being buried alive in utero? Incredibly bizarre.)What I DIDN'T like seems to outnumber the likes, though.- Amelia FREAKS OUT about EVERYTHING. There was a whole section devoted to her being freaked out about hitting a bird with her car. Really? REALLY? Every bump in the night or twig snapping in the day seems to make her jump out of her skin.- MORE creepy/weird sexual encounters, believe it or not.- Situations that are too unbelievable for me to take seriously, even in a work of paranormal fiction. Outrunning an old mansion on top of a hill that suddenly just broke free of its foundation and got caught up in a landslide? Really? REALLY?- Villain monologues. There were TWO in this story.- Thane Asher. The love interest in this novel is basically the foil of Devlin. Thane puts a high value on his family name, where Devlin did not. Thane is not haunted by his lost love, where Devlin is. Thane dresses casually and pursues Amelia and tells her how much he likes her, where Devlin did not. The fact that Amelia so quickly moved on to a new love interest (even one whom she had strong reservations about) baffled me, and they seemed to follow the exact same pattern as Amelia & Devlin in the first book -- friendship, attraction, passion, then "eh, now's not a good time."- My biggest gripe, however, is that this book seemed to lack all of the interesting cemetery tidbits that the first one had. There wasn't anything new to learn about cemeteries or burials or how people care for the dead that hadn't already been mentioned in the first book -- HUGE disappointment for people like me actually interested in learning something new.I will still probably read the third book -- there are still questions I'd like answered -- but I can't see ever re-reading this one... it was a little too cheesy-horror-flick for my tastes.