Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Harper Collins
Three stars: The sequel outshines the predecessor.
Amelia tries to avoid the bitter truth: a relationship between a living boy and a deceased girl is a dead end. As much as it pains her, she knows that she must soon leave Josh's side. Despite the fact that he holds her heart, she wants him to have a normal life. A life with a living girl friend and eventually a family. If only it she could tear herself away, and Josh isn't making it any easier. Everyday they are together, the closer they become. A brief encounter with Eli, makes Amelia realize that her departure from Josh needs to happen immediately. It seems the demons she staved off to save Jillian have a personal vendetta against her. They are out to get her and that means they will destroy everyone she loves in order to achieve their goals. The only way to protect Josh, his family and her mother is for Amelia to vanish and leave them for good. Unfortunately, her willpower wavers. Amelia promises herself she will depart right after she accompanies Josh and his family to New Orleans for Christmas. Of course, in a haunted city like New Orleans, the dead are everywhere, and soon Amelia finds herself a target once again. Will Amelia be able to again evade the demons and protect the boy she loves?
What I Liked:
- I appreciated that this book addresses the difficulties and impossibilities of a long term romantic relationship between a ghost and a living boy. The more realistic aspects are addressed and the impossibilities of it are brought to the forefront. I was glad to see these issues finally addressed as it was a sticky point for me in Hereafter.
- I loved that this book goes to haunted New Orleans. In this sequel the reader learns a bit more about Seers, as well as delving into voodoo, a mainstay of this old city. One scene takes place in one of the most famous and haunted cemeteries! The author does a good job of bringing New Orleans alive for the reader.
- I liked that Amelia finally encounters another dead girl, Gabrielle and learns a thing or two about her ghostly abilities, especially after all the floundering in the dark. I was drawn to this lovely Creole girl with a gift for voodoo. She was a great addition to the cast of characters.
- Again, this book presents a good solid mystery that left me guessing until the exciting ending and final showdown. The last chapters were thrilling!
- I was pleased, once again, that this book is without the love triangle and cliffhangers.
And The Not So Much:
- Amelia's ghostly form is altered a bit with a touch of voodoo and she becomes "Risen". I don't feel like this element was fully explained and fleshed out. I had so many questions regarding this condition and though it was an improvement as far as the relationship goes, I was left scratching my head.
- I still am desiring a more thorough explanation on the Hereafter. A couple of times Amelia encounters another ghost who seems to be in the know, but we learn almost nothing from her. The Hereafter is still a mystery that needs clarification, there has to be more than just the demons!
- I am a bit frustrated over the whole situation regarding Amelia's father. For some reason, Amelia believes that her father is trapped by the demons even though there is not a shred of evidence to prove that he is a prisoner.
- This book has a great mystery story line with some twists. I admit at the big reveal, once the villain made the standard explanation speech, the one where they relate all the strings that were pulled and how the whole diabolical ploy was masterminded, I felt that some of the revelations were a bit far fetched and not so believable. I won't go into details here to avoid spoilers but some of the things were a bit beyond plausible for my taste.
Arise ended up being a solid read for me. I enjoyed the real and difficult decisions that Amelia faces and I appreciated that she is dealing with the harsh reality of the impossibility of a long term relationship with Josh. Ms. Hudson provides a second book that exceeded the first. There is mystery and danger packed into the pages. Ultimately, we are left wondering how this relationship between two star crossed lovers will play out. If you are a fan of ghostly romances you will enjoy this series.
"Whatever, Grizzly Adams. You look like a bear died on your face."
"Boys, I thought, shaking my head. An insult and a punch, and all is forgiven."
"When you had a ghost for a girlfriend, you eventually had to choose between the living and the dead. Between a normal life and a haunted one."
"He gave me that boyish grin, all dimples and full lips and inevitable heartbreak, and then pulled open the door."
"As if responding to my mood, the gas lamps above me sputtered violently, sending an array of shadows dancing across the street."
"Call me crazy, but aging enemies, flickering shadows, and midnight rituals in cemeteries all made me jumpier than usual."
"I love you. The words whispered in my mind long after they'd been spoken. They echoed, haunting me, distracting me in the darkness."
"It mangled and mashed together until I felt certain that the only thing I could do right now--the only thing I could ever do-- was fly across the cafe, throw myself into Joshua's arms, and apologize for the next thousand years."
A big thanks to Harper Collins for the advanced copy for review purposes.