Book Review: Dreams from the Grave by J. Kathleen Cheney


Mikael Lee has dreamed of death for a decade now. He shares the last moments of murder victims, usually ones he’s later fated to investigate. But one death has always eluded him: his father’s murder.

Now he’s dreaming his father’s murder again, an old and powerful dream that can drag him to the brink of death. This time, though, he has a witness who can help him find the truth: Shironne Anjir. She’s been dragged into Mikael’s dreams for years. As much as Mikael does, she wants this dream put to bed, the deaths in Mikael’s memories solved once and for all.

And more than that, Mikael wants his father’s greatest secret—the identity of a half-brother Mikael has never met.



This is the third book in Cheney’s Palace of Dreams series and I have to say, this book did not disappoint me at all. This is one of my favorite series and I’m so glad the author is still self-publishing it–it brings me so much joy reading these stories.

In previous books there was a lot of groundwork laid which is now being built upon. This has a rather complex world built up in it with a land that was conquered twice over with various peoples from three different cultures mixing and remnants of each culture still affecting things throughout. At the start of the series this information seems less important but as you get further in these notes become more central to the story. Here in this third book the world building becomes really prominent and starts to have a lot more of an effect on the plot itself. Not only that but the various characters are all intertwined in a giant web that feels very much like the royal courts of Europe with everyone somehow being related to everyone else through some cousin or aunt or such due to so much intermarriage. If there’s one downside to this, I’d say it’s a tad hard to keep track of who everyone is and how they’re related but luckily there is a handy dandy glossary in the back of the book!

Another thing this book ramps up on are the revelations! It was like revelation after revelation. After a while I started to wonder if there are any characters who *aren’t* secretly related in some way or another. This isn’t a bad thing! I thought all of these revelations were interesting because it shows how secretive people have been and why they’ve been that way. Again there is the world building playing into the story in the decisions the characters make. There’s also a lot of political intrigue which for me is always a plus because I just love that stuff. Give me a juicy court intrigue plot any day and I’m happy.

Of course the centralized plot of this book centers around Mikael’s parents and their murder. This is something that has been haunting him for some time. While he used his death dreams to help solve other’s murders in the past it’s finally time to help solve those deaths that started him on this path to begin with. I thought this plot was handled well. It ramps up slowly (after all, this is something that he’s been trying to solve for years) and then comes to a sudden conclusion. I liked the way it was solved and I did have some hints that it would be solved in such a fashion because of the way Shironne was paying particular attention to those details during the dreams.

The characters continue to be interesting. Of course I love both Shirone and Mikael. They’re really both so perfect for each other and I’m eagerly awaiting the day that they’ll finally be able to be together, truly. (This book felt like a tease in some ways haha). They’ve both grown a lot in character since they’ve met and you can see how great of a partnership they have and will have in the future. I also loved that we spent so much time with Deborah! She’s one of those incredibly practical people who is super good to have around in a crisis.

Overall, super happy with this book! And I’m also super happy that it’s not the last one! I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series. 4.5/5 stars.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Dreams from the Grave by J. Kathleen Cheney

  1. Tammy says:

    I’ve also read a series or two where the author started it being traditionally published but then went the self published route. (At the moment I can’t think of specific books) I’m glad you’re still enjoying this!

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    I don’t remember reading about this series but I’m thoroughly fascinated by your review, particularly where you speak of the three different cultures mixing: I believe it would make for a very fascinating background indeed… I need to add this to my “wanted” list! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. dinipandareads says:

    I’ve never heard of this series/author before but this synopsis and your review has really piqued my interest! Is it ghost-scary though? I might have to check it out (also depending on how scary it is lol). Great review!

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