Reviews of Graveyard Dust (1999)
Review by mojosmom (2005-01-20)
I had a very mixed reaction to this book. I'm quite interested in New Orleans and its history, and I found the discussions of the system of plašage, voodoo, 1830's politics, the social environment of this time and place to be the best parts of the book. Judging by her note at the end of the book, Hambly takes her research seriously, and is honest with the reader about what can be verified and what can't. Good for her.
The writing itself, however, was slow going. The first half, particularly, seemed to be padded. There was a great deal of repetition of January's personal history; for example, we really don't need to be told half a dozen times about the circumstances of his wife's death. It was not until the second part of the book that the pace picked up. The trial scenes were, of course, interesting to me as a lawyer, but also were well-written, with a touch of humor. Hambly uses the character of Marie Laveau in a way that not only avoided stereotyping but also suggested a real understanding of the famous voodooienne.
I came close to putting the book down in the early part, but I'm glad I stuck with it, although I'm not certain that I'll seek out more of this series (which isn't to say I wouldn't read them if they came my way).
This is the third book in the series, and it does not seem to me to be necessary to have read earlier books to enjoy this one. Enough (at times too much!) is said about earlier events.