The Reburialists by J.C. Nelson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 1st 2016
ARC Provided by Ace and Netgalley
J.C. Nelson is the author of the Grimm Agency series, but The Reburialists was a completely different story. This was dark and dangerous and steeped in uncertainty. Our characters were always being caught off guard and spent a majority of the book fighting for their lives. It was definitely intense… an enjoyable read for sure, but definitely intense.
The main characters in The Reburialists were Brynner Carson and Grace Roberts. Brynner, after I got over my Scrubs “brinner” association with his name, was a complex character. He was practically born a hunter because of his parents and has been a BSI agent fighting the “meat skins” ever since he turned 18. He’s deadly and smart and well-respected, almost worshipped, among his peers. He also has a reputation as something of a ladies’ man, so that immediately puts Grace on the defensive. Grace Roberts is a BSI analyst, a brilliant translator to be precise, that is called in to help Brynner translate his late father’s journals. Grace is wary and closed off because of her personal life and she is determined she won’t be Brynner Carson’s latest conquest. They come to an uneasy working relationship, that slowly turns into more as the book progresses.
I liked both characters for the most part; their narratives were very different from one another and they were both very capable characters. They both made some questionable decisions at times, especially at the peak of an emotional situation, but nothing that was so stupid as to be a deal breaker. Both characters begin to develop throughout The Reburialists, but Grace had an especially surprising amount of growth. When we first meet her I wouldn’t call her meek, but she is definitely inexperienced and out of her element. She has a certain sense of what her role is and has no desire to step outside of it. She will work with Brynner for the good of the BSI, but that’s it. By the end of the book, she can shoot a co-org with the best of them and danger, well that’s become her middle name. She becomes incredibly strong both in spirit and heart and no longer worries about how others see her. She takes charge in a way that works for her and learns how to compliment her strengths and weakness by depending on others. Brynner also changes, but in a more emotional way. He’s lived a life of danger and uncertainty, but now he has learned that it’s okay to care about others without taking all the responsibility on himself. Bad things happen to people and it’s not his fault he wasn’t there to save them every time. He also learns that he doesn’t have to stand alone and that loving someone is more important than worrying you’re putting them in danger, especially when they can take care of themselves.
I could have done with a little less relationship angst, especially when the characters were in danger, but I did like the romantic developments between Brynner and Grace in The Reburialists. It was interesting to see such a strong bond being forged in a situation that could have just as easily drove them apart. Grace and Brynner both carried a lot of baggage from their pasts, so it was also refreshing to see them discussing their issues without holding a grudge or being angry at one another for very long.
I know I’ve talked a lot about the main characters but, yes, this book did have zombies too. Brynner and Grace and the rest of the BSI are fighting a war against them. The zombies here, called co-orgs or meat skins, are normally the mindless, angry zombies we are used to. Sometimes, though, the zombie will display an alarming intelligence and even talk. These are called the Re-Animus. It’s like a consciousness, an evil one of course, that can possess dead bodies and just moves from one to the next as needed. The storyline behind The Reburialists kicks off when a Re-Animus calls Brynner by name and demands he return “the heart.” Brynner knows what this means, but he doesn’t know where it is and that’s where Grace comes in. Throughout the book, the types of zombies they run into expands and some are even introduced that are new to Brynner himself. The mythology that J.C. Nelson created here, which I don’t want to get into because it would be a spoiler, was fascinating and very detailed. It really made the world come alive and added a high amount of tension to Brynner and Grace’s mission.
The Reburialists was a very enjoyable read and blazed a new path for zombie stories. The detailed world building, intricate mythology, and interesting characters make this one an easy recommendation for all zombie, apocalyptic, and urban fantasy readers. As of now, I don’t know if this was the beginning of a new series or not. If not, it had perfect closure for a stand alone, but the world is also so vast that I could easily see new adventures for Brynner and Grace or even new characters continuing the story.
Thank you to Ace via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = B
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