Series: Riley Bloom #2
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 5 Aug 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a little time-off. But then Riley encounters a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, Rebecca is furious about being murdered during the slave revolt of 1733. Her uncontrollable anger is keeping other ghosts, who also died in the revolt, trapped in a shimmering bubble. And when Bodhi and Buttercup inadvertently fall into Rebecca's trap, Riley is the only one who can save them.
This is the second installment of the Riley Bloom series a companion series to The Immortals therefore this review may contain spoilers for the first book Radiance (review here). You have been warned.
I have to say that Riley's character has really developed after the events at the end of Radiance, although she still has her bratish moments she does learn from them. She has developed a keen self analysis that helps her deal with some tricky situations. However, she is very impetuous often with dramatic consequences, saying that she does trust her intuition which is a theme through Alyson Noel's books, that we should all trust our intuition to help us make the correct decisions. Normally we (I mean me) over-think things or are influenced by other people instead of going with what we feel. A lesson for all of us I think.
Riley has a deep sense of family loyalty and love yet her loneliness is palpable via the narrative. She needs someone to share her feelings with. As yet she just sees Bodhi as her instructor in Soul Catching and is a bit dismissive of him, but I do think a real relationship could be brewing between the two.
Bodhi is a complex character (the name always make me think of Patrick Swayze in Point Break) bits and pieces of Bodhi's 'life' are threaded through the story giving him substance and providing insight into his character.
The way in which slavery was portrayed with brutal honesty and not skirted over was admirable and Alyson Noel did a terrific job of conveying the horror of slavery to a Middle Grade audience, the harsh reality of it brought to technicolour life. The cycle of violence was brilliantly portrayed and not something I had thought much about before.
I really admired how the use of forgiveness helped people move on. Believe me some days are easier than others to forgive.
A really great continuation of Riley's story that develops not only the characterisations but the understanding of the world Riley now inhabits 'Here and Now'. Little tidbits of information as to the further development of this series has left me impatiently waiting for the next installment.
A brilliant paranormal series for Middle Graders.