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OBS BOOK REVIEWS: RADIANCE BY ALYSON NOEL

by Dawn, December 9, 2010

Radiance
Author: Alyson Noel

Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz

Synopsis:

“Most people think that death is the end.
The end of life–of good times–
the end of, well, pretty much everything.
But those people are wrong.
Dead wrong.
And I should know.
I died almost a year ago.’

Welcome to the Here & Now.

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 all of that was before he met Riley . . .”

Review: At first I wasn’t to open minded about reading this book. I figured the author just wrote it to capitalize on her already New York Times Best selling books, the Immortal Series. I ended up REALLY loving this book which completely surprised me because Riley annoyed me in Evermore (first book in Immortal Series).

In Radiance, Riley is still very much a twelve year old: smart mouthed, stubborn as hell, opinionated about everything, and over dramatic. But Riley is also caring, compassionate, loving, and in search, as all young ones are, of who she is and where she really belongs.

Radiance follows Riley as she learns to transition into her new “life” in Here. She desperately wants to fit in but at the same time she wants to remain true to herself. She changes between outfits and moods constantly, never holding back how she feels or what she thinks. That’s something I really loved about Riley! She is always true to herself, no matter what others think and even for such a young character, many her age and many much older than her, can benefit from learning from Riley. The kid has some very good nuggets of wisdom for someone so young.

You also get to meet Bodhi or who Riley refers to as “Monsieur Dorky Guy”. Bodhi is as nerdy as one can get: dressed in a black suit with a white shirt, skinny black tie and nerd glasses, the ones with black frames and thick glass. But Riley soon learns Bodhi isn’t all nerd, he has skills and strength she wouldn’t have expected in him.

Bodhi helps to teach Riley how to be a Soul Catcher, one who helps get the dead who have yet to cross the bridge and cross over into Here. True to form, Riley thinks getting the Radiant Boy, a spirit who has been haunting a castle for centuries causing all who stay within the castle to flee the instant they walk in, will be easy. Bodhi warns her that many before her have failed and she should take her job more serious but of course Riley doesn’t listen.

But there’s also another reason why Bodhi has brought Riley to the castle, he has some unfinished business of his own to attend to and Riley gets stuck in the crossfire.

Radiance is a quick and easy read. Riley and Bodhi are so much fun to read because they are always clashing. They both think they know more than they really do and are each as stubborn as bulls! The descriptions are beautifully written and you never once feel like the story is dragged out. Each character has a place and a purpose. And Riley will remind us each of our own best friend and how much we really cherish that kind of all loving, always accepting, supportive, relationship.

This is a great book to snuggle in bed on a rainy day to read (or even a sunny one).

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