Chasing Graves was what I’d come to expect from Ben Galley. Unique, fantastic worldbuilding, interesting characters, and much more. I’ve only previously read The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley, but both that and Chasing Graves have been quite different from most books I’ve seen in the genre.
The worldbuilding in this book is done exceptionally well. It’s based around the concept that death isn’t the end, the dead can be bound and enslaved as ghosts. Naturally, this has run on effects to the whole world, and this is what the author does very well. This one change makes massive differences to everything. The economy is based more on souls than silver, murder is commonplace as it brings more souls. Buying, selling, and trading of the dead is common. All these things about how the world is impacted by ghosts create a very realistic world. There are far-reaching consequences of the ability to bind dead souls and it makes the world so immersive. It’s also a concept I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else.
The characters are another interesting point in this book. Ben has a penchant of having unique main characters, and Caltros, the MC, is very different to what I’ve read in most books. Having just been murdered on his way to a job, Caltros needs to discover how to “live” as a ghost. Enslaved by cruel masters, it’s a very different life to what the once-thief is used to. Chasing Graves makes for a unique story of coping with hardship and enslavement. There are a few other main point of view characters too, and it’s very interesting to see the world through their eyes too. Galley does a fantastic job of giving each POV their own voice and making them different. This partially comes from him using first person POV for Caltros, and third person POV for the other characters, and partially how the character view the world around them.
The story itself is a slow burn. Characters’ lives are shown and we can see how they develop over the course of the story. My one concern with this was where it ended. Chasing Graves felt somewhat incomplete as its own story and I felt like I needed a bit more of an ending rather than a cliffhanger. It felt like the beginning of a longer story rather than its own story, however, if I had my hands on the sequel I probably wouldn’t have minded that so much.
Overall, Chasing Graves was a unique tale with some amazing characters in a very immersive world. Would highly recommend to people who enjoy:
- Character focused stories
- Slower pacing
- Multiple POVs
- Immersive worlds
- Darker stories