Author: Alyson Noel
Genre: Middle Grade, Supernatural
Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Square Fish
Source: Review copy provided by Publisher
Ever, her parents, and her dog, Buttercup, were recently killed in a car accident. Ever, who was hesitant to crossover to the Here and Now is living her life much like she did on the Earth plane with the additional ability of being able to manifest whatever she likes (imagine how awesome that power would be). But on her first day of school, she is in for a bit of a shock. She is to be trained as a Soul Catcher, assigned to a trainer, Bodhi, who is beyond dorky (her words, I swear), and given the impossible task of coaching Radiant Boy – a soul who has been haunting an English castle for centuries – to cross over.
When I first picked up Radiance, I did not realize that it was a companion to another series. Radiance is the first book in a new series featuring Riley, the little sister of Ever in the Immortals series. However, I was able to enjoy Radiance without first reading the Immortals books.
Noel had me from the beginning by opening the novel with a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I liked Riley. I thought Noel did a great job giving her a very age-appropriate voice without making her too annoying. I’m pretty sure most 12-year-old girls would like Riley.
The story was a little predictable, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in middle grade lit. While I knew there was going to be more to Bodhi than Riley first sees, I still enjoyed finding out what that was. And the book certainly contains surprises. Riley is still discovering her world and her role as a Soul Catcher and the reader is right there with her.
While this is a book about a girl who has died, it is not too dark. At the same time, it isn’t too light. Riley still has the worries and prejudices of a 12-year-old girl but with some added regrets about what she missed out on in her old life. Even if she doesn’t age, Riley grows up in Radiance and I expect she’ll grow up a lot more in the rest of the series.
I will read the Immortals series when I get a chance and I will continue reading this series. It’s a nice take on the supernatural trend (there are no vampires, I promise). It kind of reminds me of the television show Dead Like Me (streams instantly on Netflix if you’re interested) but is still unique.