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Book Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

I guess I didn’t read the description of The Restorer very well because I thought I was getting a fun, paranormal YA read. What I got instead was an adult fantasy complete with murder, dead bodies and energy-sucking ghosts. So yeah… a little different from what I was expecting. 😉

Title & Author: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Genre: Fantasy- Horror-ish

Release Date: April 19, 2011

Series: Book 1, with at least 1 sequel

Publisher: Mira

How I Got the Book: e-ARC

Description: “My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.”

Not for the Faint of Heart

I just want to preface this review by saying that creepy stuff is not for me. Movies like The Ring and I Am Legend are about as “scary” as I can go. To put it succintly, I’m a wimp.

So books about murderers and crime scenes are not for me. I wasn’t able to fully enjoy this book for those reasons (and a few others). If you like or enjoy horror elements in books, you may very well love The Restorer. I just wanted to put that out there and state my biases up front!

Also, don’t read this at night. I did, and I’m pretty sure that was the best way to amplify the suspenseful parts of this book. You’d think I would know better by now!!

To fairly warn those of you who lean more toward my wimpy side of things- this book does detail the way the murder victims died. There aren’t too many details but enough that I was really creeped out. Plus, there are other high suspense moments that sort of put me on edge.

Well-Written but I’ve Heard it Before

This book did a lot of things well. The pacing was great. I thought there the descriptions of Amelia and Devlin’s past and personalities was mixed in nicely with the discovery of details about the victims and the potential murderer. Stevens does a great job of making you suspect everyone. If only I had remembered the advice that Dwight gave on the TV show The Office: It’s never the ones you most suspect. It’s also not the ones you least expect, since anyone with half a brain would suspect them. Therefore, it has to be…the one I most medium suspect.”

I also really liked Amelia. She’s talented and driven but lives a life devoid of close relationships. I felt her pain and rejection at being an outsider in her social circle and in her family. Her one flaw is falling for a man that is so clearly 1. out of her league 2. potentially threatening to her well-being, i.e. putting her into close contact with ghosts and 3. described as intense but can totally go bat shizz crazy (as the FYA crew says).

Amelia is drawn to Devlin because he’s dangerous and wounded. Oh, and did I mention he’s a cop? Yeah, there’s that too. I just didn’t think the romance here offered anything new or interesting to the overall story. I’ve heard this girl-meets-sad-boy story a million times. There’s really no crazy twist to it either unless you count the fact that they’re in their early 30s instead of in their teens.

Also, if I read about one more character who feels electricity racing through their veins when they are touched by someone of the opposite sex, I’m going to scream. This is extremely overdone.

I do want to say that this book is by no means a “bad” novel. The story is truly interesting, but I felt like I had to go through a lot of gruesome details to get there. The story flowed and had some personality, but there was no inspiration.


For fans of a dark creepy mystery story complete with buried secrets, The Restorer is for you! As a whole, this book is well-written with some interesting plot twists and believable characters. It wasn’t for me, but I would still recommend it to readers who can stomach heavy topics like death, vengeful ghosts and what happens to you after you die.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.