Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: Queen of the Dead (Ghost & the Goth, Book Two) by Stacey Kade

Release Date: May 31st, 2011
(I got my ARC from the RT Convention.)
Published by: Hyperion

Queen of the Dead (Ghost & the Goth, Book Two) by Stacey Kade

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.


Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.


Ten Likes/Dislikes:


1. (+) The Protagonists - I didn't think I'd ever feel sympathetic for the cheerleader stereotype but Ms. Kade manages to make Alona come alive as a character.  Even while she was snapping off mean retorts, Alona was still put into a vulnerable situation with her parents that made me feel for her.  Will wasn't as Goth as I expected, but even he and his struggles with his abilities and his father's past made him a likable character.
2. (+) Ghostly Rules - I enjoyed reading about the rules of being a ghost and the ghost-talking business, particularly how it affected Will's perception of his father.  Alona faces consequences for her actions, and more of the ghost world and Alona's powers, in particular, are explored.  At the same time, none of it comes off too strongly--like an info-dump.  It all occurs gradually.
3. (+/-) The Writing - It was easy to slip into Alona and Will's worlds.  At the same time, it was personally harder for me to feel like an active participant in the book.  I could watch and picture what both Alona and Will were doing, but even though I think they're strong characters, I wasn't as attached to them as with characters from other novels.
4. (+) The Romance - In my opinion, there wasn't a lot of it since they were still figuring out what they meant to each other, but what was there was nice and I liked the idea that both Will and Alona had separate lives even when they're sort of together.
5. (--) The Villain - I'm not sure what to make of the villain(s).  Part of it is that they're mysterious but in a vague, unsatisfying way.  They're staying out of Will's way... for now maybe.  But we really don't know much about them or the training which was supposed to make us feel sympathetic for Mina.  To me, it mostly felt like they were introduced but they weren't really a threat.  I didn't know enough about them to feel that way, and they honestly seemed a bit too sloppy to be a threat.  That being said, perhaps their antics will change in the next book, given the problem Alona and Will will have to face.
6. (+) Not Exclusive - I haven't read the first novel in this series, but I was able to understand what was going on in this sequel.  When an explanation was needed, Ms. Kade gave it.
7. (+) Multiple POVs  - Alona and Will tell their separate stories, but even when they've just left each other, there is no repetition, something I've found happens a lot with multiple POVs.  It reinforces the independence that I liked/mentioned regarding their romance.  Also, if Will had just been narrating what happened, then Alona would've fallen flat as a character.  If Alona had been the only narrator, I might've just thought she was being too mean.... but together they create a sort of balance.
8. (+) The Ending - When I first read the summary and saw the 'killer cliffhanger' part, I groaned on the inside.  I don't know why that would be advertised.  If I'm going to start a series, I don't want to know that I'm probably not going to be happy with the ending..... but in this book, it honestly didn't feel that bad.  The ending is unresolved, yes, but it also was a problem that started in the middle part of the book and just kept growing... so it wasn't something unexpected.  And that was what made it okay for me.  Plus, now I know what the next book will focus on.
9. (+) Pacing - I didn't put this novel down until I finished it.  It was a quick read throughout, and I didn't get bogged down by details anywhere.
10. (+) The Cover - Interesting that they changed the cover from the ARC.  I'm glad they did, though.  On the ARC cover, Will is sitting on one of the chairs, but his posture seems a tad awkward.  Here, they fixed his stance and made him seem more annoyed with her.  I like the way they made Alona look... and the cool colors match the book's essence.  The cover fits the book well.

I got exactly what I expected of Queen of the Dead: a light, fun read that I was able to quickly finish.  The next time I'm at a bookstore, I'll crack open the Ghost and the Goth at least to see how Alona & Will ended up deciding to be partners in their ghostly business.

If you'd like to read this book, there is a giveaway going on here.

This is my fourth review for the #30books30days challenge.  Take a look at this list to see what's coming up next :).

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