Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: Radiance by Alyson Noel

Most people think that
death is the end.

But those people are wrong.
And I should know.
I died almost a year ago.

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...

This is the first book in a new middle-grade series.
Riley Bloom is the twelve year-old sister of Ever, the main character of The Immortals series. While those books are about Ever's life on earth this is Riley's adventures in the afterlife. The story is age appropriate and not a scary take on death. In fact, it's really about her trying to adjust to new surroundings, her new home. Since they are in the Here and Now they can live any way they want so they manifest a house and a neighborhood just like the one they left on Earth. They even eat meals, sleep in beds and attend school. The only thing she can't do is be with her sister. Eventually she is given as assignment as a Soul Catcher and Bodhi is her guide and teacher. She is excited to return to earth and Her dog Buttercup gets to come too.

Riley's first task is to remove the Radiant Boy from a castle he haunts. No other Soul Catcher has ever been able to get him to leave and cross over. As she works to figure out this mystery she also learns more about Bodhi. They don't always get along well and it becomes obvious to her that he has his own problems that he keeps to himself. Riley may only be 12 but this assignment has allowed her to realize she doesn't need to be so selfish and she can be helpful to others. In fact, she seems to have a knack for it.

The book was
a quick read about an imaginative new world. It's an interesting take on the afterlife, not scary and is age appropriate. The main characters grow and change as they learn lessons about themselves and others. Some of the problems are resolved a little too neatly but that also seems age appropriate. I really enjoyed the sense of humor and Buttercup was my favorite character. You gotta love a dog who still chases tennis balls in the afterlife! The first book ends with a nice set up for the next one. I look forward to reading more of this series.

Thank you to Square Fish for an arc to review.

Shimmer (B
ook 2) due 3/15/11

author -

Publisher: Square Fish
Release date: September 2010
Price/format: $7.99/paperback
Pages: 192
Type: Middle-grade fiction


  1. I have a feeling this book will be popular!

  2. I had a lot of fun with this one too and I haven't even read the Immortals series. Looking forward to Shimmer too.

  3. I thought this was okay, and like you, I really like how it presents the afterlife in a way that won't scare younger readers. I just felt like I was missing something, like I should have read The Immortals series first.


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