Reading level: Middle Grade/Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Square Fish
Date: August 31st, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in a new series
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I have been curious about Alyson Noel’s The Immortals series, but because of mediocre reviews haven’t wanted to commit to such a long series. When I saw that Noel had released a short novel that was a spin-off of the series I thought it would be a great way to get a feel for her writing and see if I wanted to read more by her. This book was okay, but the character’s were a bit flat and immature for me.
Riley is dead and is living in the Hear and Now. Her parents are there and her house is there. Everything is kind of the same as it was when she was alive. Then on her first day of school things go wrong, she can’t find her place…her job… in the Here and Now. When she is called before the Council they decide she should be a Soul Catcher and assign super-geek Bodhi to be her guide. Now Riley has to try and travel back to the land of the living to complete her assignment.
As far as ghost stories go, this one didn’t really add anything to the genre that hadn’t been done before. Riley is basically somewhere in between the land of the living and Heaven and is having trouble accepting that. I think this book is written at a lower age level than The Immortals because it is being told from Riley’s perspective (she is thirteen years old).
The writing style for this book is okay, if a bit juvenile. It is readable and engaging. My biggest problem with this book are the characters. None of them are all that likable and they are also stereotypical. Riley is shallow, obnoxious, and whiny. Right away she starts giving Bodhi a hard time because he looks geeky; then later when he has his geeky glasses off she is all like “Oh, swoon he is so hot.” I mean really how shallow can you be? Bodhi as a character isn’t much better, although the fact that he even tolerates Riley says he’s got more going on than she does. I think Riley is supposed to come off as snarky; but in reality she is irritating and obnoxious…even she realizes this at points…but she makes no effort to change.
Overall not a book I enjoyed much. The biggest thing this book had going for it is that the dialogue was natural sounding and readable (if obnoxious) and it was a really short book. Personally I wouldn’t waste my time on this book unless you are a serious die-hard fan of the Immortals series. There wasn’t much story here, not much creativity, and the characters were obnoxious. This book convinced me to give credence to the mediocre reviews I have been seeing for The Immortals; I don’t think this author is for me. It does look like Noel is planning to write additional novels with Riley and Bodhi; so if you do enjoy this book you should have more of the same to look forward to in the future.