Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: Radiance by Alyson Noel

     This is one of the strangest books I've ever read! It's an odd mix of shimmery clouds, dark experiences, disconnected loved ones and new friendships. The story takes place a year after Riley Bloom dies and watches her parents cross over into the Here and Now and her sister returns to the Earth Plane to continue living.

     When Riley finally crosses over into the Here and Now, she's sorely disappointed. Although there are radiant beings, mostly there are people like her. The saddest part is that they fail to welcome her and leave her feeling lost and alone until Bhodi offers to be her guide.

     Bhodi takes Riley to guide a soul that's been resisting for over a hundred years and Riley believes she's up to the task. If she succeeds, she gets her wish to tour London and be among the living for a time - the one thing she thinks will soothe her discontent. Surprisingly, another soul is waiting in London, but this time she has to conquer her strong impulse to interfere.

     While I enjoyed Riley's plucky character and loved her strong will, Radiance gave me a very bad, lost feeling - like there was no reality, only experiences.  It gave me a huge case of separation anxiety for the characters.  I give the author credit that if that is what she was trying to convey, she succeeded.  She certainly is original and creative in depicting the afterlife.  One inconsistency that the author addresses in the story is the language fluctuating from pre-teen to college level vocabulary. While it may offer something for older and younger audiences, it just felt a bit off to me.  I did love the inclusion of the dog in the story and the ending left me hopeful that the characters are in a good place and ready to lead a good solid adventure in book two, Shimmer.

I give Radiance three stars!3 stars3 star 2


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