Sunday, 22 May 2011

review: Queen of the Dead

by Stacey Kade
Disney/Hyperion, May 31,  2011
paranormal young adult
eARC received via NetGalley

Alona's back from the light, tethered to Earth to act as Will Killian's spirit-guide (did we mention she's a ghost?) and do good for others. Only the job's not as easy as it sounds, especially when another girl starts moving in on her turf and buggin Will about some mysterious group of spirit-seers, which his late father may or may not have been a part of. Now that gets Will's attention. Not only will he meet others like himself, he'll learn more about his father -- how could he give up the chance? But when he gets so wrapped up that he doesn't have time to remind Alona's parents to grieve for her, Alona decides to take matters into her own hands... corporeal or not.
The cover:

The female model's done as well as she was in the first book, but the way the guy's expression looks plain weird to me. The pink and gray-blue contrast is ugly in my opinion, too. And the diner isn't even a major setting in the book. Too bad.

The book:

Establishing, the chemistry between Will and Alona right off the bat is a smart move on Stacey Kade's part: it helps to link back to The Ghost and the Goth and ups the ante when Mina (the girl spirit-seer) enters the scene. In this sequel, the paranormal element is treated more seriously, diminishing its uniqueness since the lightness of the aspect is what I enjoyed in the first book. With Will, though, at least the mortal perspective is considered as well, not just the paranormal.

The concept of Alona needing her parents to grieve for her is an interesting one; it's a look at grieving and healing, but from a a very different perspective. This does tend to make Alona look a little tantrum-y, considering her not-quite-reformed snobby outlook. But that makes her sacrifice at the end that much more honourable. It's always uplifting to watch a character change for the better.

The society of spirit-seers didn't turn out to be as important for Will as expected -- same for Mina, too -- and I didn't feel the closure I would've liked in regards to his father, though perhaps it'll come in the third book. And the way Alona's and Will's relationship shifts rings of Meg Cabot's Airhead novels, with all the potential caveats. Fingers crossed Kade manages the situation better than Cabot did.

Rating: 2.9 out of 5