By Tara Hudson
June 5, 2012
Reviewed: ARC from publisher
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.
Fans of Hereafter will find even more to love with ARISE, the second installment in Tara Hudson’s deathly romantic series. But be prepared, all is not well with Amelia in this chapter.
The story starts off with the Amelia, Joshua and his family heading to New Orleans for Christmas vacation. After an unfortunate encounter with demons who apparently want to take Amelia by any means necessary (even to the point of hurting those she loves) Amelia is left thinking that she is a danger if she sticks around Joshua. Much of the plot is centered around the decision: Should she stay, or should she go? When it came to how she addressed this question, I personally thought that Amelia acted selfishly, which hurt her “likability factor” in my book. I also am not a fan of the “martyr complex” when they crop up in YA reads.
New characters are introduced in the book, as we meet Joshua’s family in New Orleans. No single character really pops out to me as being unique or overly interesting, as fairly little time is actually spent with the family. Joshua’s grandmother, Ruth, pops up, albeit a lot less than you would expect. Instead, the new character we learn most about is Gabrielle (or Gaby). Gaby throws the biggest wrench of all into the story, one that definitely packs a punch when it comes to the direction that this series is taking us. While I saw it coming as to who we could and could not trust in this book, this knowledge didn’t dampen my excitement when things actually did pick up. And in the end things “picked up” quite a bit indeed. As far as the pacing goes, while I wish that the first half could have been sped up a bit, the end was totally worth it. Amelia even redeemed herself a bit in my eyes once she got some sense (and a whole lot more) knocked into her.
I have high hopes for whatever the future brings for the leading couple in this series. I look forward to whatever Tara has in store for us in the third, and final, installment. If you like romantic ghost stories, you really must check out Hereafter and ARISE by Tara Hudson.
Plot: 8 (the tension is high in this one, but involved too much angst for a large part of the plot)
Characters: 7 (Amelia’s angst ruled the show early on, friendships were forged a bit too quickly)
Setting: 10 (New Orleans graveyards anyone? Yes, please!)
Pacing: 8 (the first half could have been cut down a bit, the second half was exceptional)
Style: 8 (Tara is a master of romantic love scenes, her ghostly creativity is superb)