Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: Radiance (Radiance #1) by Alyson Noel

Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Riley Bloom left her sister, Ever, in the world of the living and crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. Riley and her dog, Buttercup, have been reunited with her parents and are just settling into a nice, relaxing death when she's summoned before The Council. They let her in on a secret—the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure; Riley has to work. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a curious boy she can't quite figure out.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup return to earth for her first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But he's never met Riley...
My Thoughts: This was a very easy YA read. Very easy.  I think I finished it inside of 2 hours.

Overall, I liked the story, but I did feel like it could have been fleshed out further.  The beginning comes across as very quirky (And now that I was settled in, it was time for my first day of school (yes, we have school Here- it's not all cloud lounging and harp playing, you know), and since everyone was acting so excited about it, it became my job to act excited to. - pg 8) but those little asides get dropped as Riley moves into her position with Bodhi and begins learning about her new job.

Maybe the thing I was looking for was a little more of a learning curve for Riley.  She jumps in with both feet and pretty quickly kicks some ghostly ass.  Frankly, she seemed like she was so unwilling to take direction from anyone that I was a little surprised that she took to her new duties as easily as she did.  And, yes, there were things she had to learn about herself, but there was a distinct lack of conflict between her discovering these things and coming to grips with them.

I did like the book.  I really did.  But I finished it and felt like I needed more for it to feel properly resolved.  It's that nebulous "Wait! What?  It's over?" feeling I sometimes get.  As the first book in a new series, it's highly probable that we'll get more answers as the series progresses, but in the here and now I wanted more story.  More.  More of how disconnected Riley feels.  More explanation as to why Bodhi hides himself.  Just ... more.

In the end, I guess that's a good thing because the book left me asking questions.  It left me wanting.  Yet at the same time I feel slightly cheated.

Now I've gone and done some research and I'm seeing that Riley's sister, Ever, is the main character in Alyson Noel's The Immortals series.  That makes more sense to me as to why the details of Riley's time before she crossed over were glossed over in this book.  It's taking that cheated feeling and making it much more manageable.  Nice.

And look!  Now I want to go read The Immortals.

More books by Alyson Noel

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