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Queen of the Dead (A Ghost and the Goth Novel) Hardcover – May 31, 2011
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The debut novel in Kade's Ghost and the Goth series was an unexpected and frankly delightful surprise. Generally speaking paranormals are not my thing, but interject a healthy dose of angst, a heaping tablespoon of snarky humor, and a simmering romance against the odds? I'm so there. I completely feel in love with the characters of Alona and Will and their sarcastic banter, and was thrilled to learn that Kade was continuing their adventures (the third volume, Body and Soul, releases next month) this sophomore effort lacked a bit of the spark that I was hoping for given my thorough enjoyment of its predecessor. In retrospect I should've seen it coming, but what can I say, I was blinded by my book-crush on Will. *wink* Two months into the Will and Alona relationship, Kade uses this opportunity to develop the mythos of their world, delving into Will's family history and expanding on the idea of ghost talkers and their varied belief systems and modus operandi. While this definitely raises the stakes for Will and Alona, I have to be frank -- the creation of some sort of larger mythology just didn't interest me all that much, mainly because it requires that for a full two-thirds of the novel Will and Alona share no - ZERO - page time. I was reminded of my experience with the TV show Being Human (BBC version) -- I adored the first half of season one as it explored the interaction between the three mismatched roommates and their struggles to be "normal." But when the show took its mythology to a larger and darker scale I lost interest. However, someone with a greater interest in paranormals would probably appreciate Kade's world-building more than I, given my admittedly limited experience in this genre.
The lack of Will and Alona page time is, without a doubt, this book's greatest deficit. Their snarky banter, the do-they-or-don't-they like each other, will-they-or-won't-they kiss tension is what makes these stories sing. The opening and concluding chapters to this second outing are noticeably stronger than the middle because that's when we see the two of them together, trading quips, commenting on the action, and -- best of all -- revealing their attraction and need for each other. My personal preference issues with the plot's format aside, Queen of the Dead is every bit the quick read as its predecessor -- at times shaded a bit darker than I would've liked, but every bit the snappily plotted and well-executed page-turner. Her characterizations are superb -- Kade has a real knack for conveying teenage angst and snarkiness on the page. But all is not witty sarcasm -- Alona in particular, the character you'd least expect to feel sympathy towards, grows a lot over the course of this story. And while I feel Will and Alona spent far too much time apart, I will say I was pleasantly surprised by the twist at the novel's climax, leading Alona to sacrifice herself for the sake of another, and just maybe opening the door to a real relationship with Will. With a novel full of shared Will/Alona banter virtually assured by Queen's end, I can't wait for the third book to release. Thanks to its sarcasm-heavy banter and sizzling romantic tension, this series is a memorable and addictive YA offering. Here's hoping the third book does a better job fulfilling the promise of the first.
Source: Purchased hardback
Spoilers if you haven't read book 1.
Trying to score some good karma points (GKP), Alona Dare is playing spirit guide to Will Killian. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement. She gets some GKP which may help her find that white light thing and he gets a spirit that keeps the other ones at bay. That works, right? Did we factor in kissing? Didn't think so. Yeah, what happens when you start having feeling for the ghost/goth you're just trying to help. And then what happens when said ghost/goth ends up in trouble. What happens then? Almost anything really, from fire to possessions. Gonna be interesting.
4 stars - fast paced & hilarious
I really enjoyed A Ghost and a Goth. It was a fun fast read and this one picked up right where that one left off.
Will inherited his fathers ability to hear and see spirits that have died but not moved into the light. Alona inherited her parents refined tastes. Will has always tried to hide from the ghosts that are always wanting something from him and, as a result, he doesn't have a lot of friends. Alona on the other hand was Queen of the school before she died. Such an unlikely pair. Together, they are trying to help some lost spirits make peace with their existence. But what we have is an easily bored ghost that is critiquing the fashion sense of everyone they meet and a socially awkward young man who is trying to keep from getting arrested while helping the unsettled ghosts. Yeah, it's freaking hilarious. I love the banter between these two unlikely allies.
If you like YA and need something fun and fast, than this is not to be missed. Check this series out.
She only got sent back from the Great Beyond to Earth, but Alona Dare may as well have gone to Hell. Now she has to spend her summer working and helping out all those other ghosts that want to move on. At least it will be a little better with Will Killian, her friend-but-kinda-maybe-more and a ghost-talker. When another ghost-talker named Mina shows up and occupies Will's attention with information about other ghost-talkers and things he never knew about his dad, Alona isn't happy about her problems being neglected. After an unforgivable act, they both have some hard choices to make.
One of my favorite things about the series is the writing. Alona and Will have their own voices and stories and these are what keep me moving through the books when I feel they get a little slow. I'm just dying to see what else they have to say and see how it will all turn out for them. This time around, they have their own plot lines and lives going on instead of being stuck to each other the entire time and these dual storylines ramped up the pacing. After the disaster that was the last book I read (or attempted to read, since I didn't finish it), Queen of the Dead was exactly what I needed.
I still wanted to kick Alona sometimes for the selfish things she does, but she is strangely likable. She has never pretended to be a good girl and what you see is what you get. She's only (figuratively) human, after all; she makes mistakes, big mistakes, and she's a good, sympathetic, well-developed character. Even when she's at her worst, I can't help cheering her on. Then we have Will, the straight man to Alona who isn't afraid to call her out when she's being selfish or does something stupid. Thank goodness getting the girl didn't cost a great male character his spine. When Will got anxious to learn more about his dad and the Order from Mina, I felt it with him. In general, the book is just as good at characters as it is at the writing.
The expansions Kade made to her fictional world with Mina and the Order of the Guardians was great. The information about them was a little too info-dumpy and messy for my tastes, but Will got to find out what he wanted to know and so did the reader. The whole thing with Lily and her family was... Okay, that got me crying. It did. Not anything too special because I could see it in many movies, but it still brought tears to my eyes. I love it when books get me drying like that.
Kade caught my attention with The Ghost and the Goth and with Queen of the Dead, she's got me hook, line, and sinker. The final book of the trilogy won't be out until June 2012 or so, but I can wait. If it means there will be solid, satisfying resolution to a situation I'm not sure can end happily, I'm willing to wait. (But not if the wait is twelve years or longer like Strange Fate by LJ Smith, which I'm pretty sure is never coming out.)
Top international reviews
Will and Alona are now partners: she's his spirit guide and they're trying to make it work. Yes, they're still attracted to each other and they occasionally make out, even if Will cannot shake away the feeling that she's just doing that in order to have him beg for more.
In this second book, Will meets a fellow ghost-talker, a girl nonetheless, during a mission they want both to accomplish for completely different reason. Will thinks that is more important to focus on the ghost and help him/her find the light, while Mina prefers taking the living people's side, trying to literally box all the ghost she comes across. He simply wants to help a ghost crossing into the light, she needs to take care of the same ghost in order to be a full member of a mysterious organization.
Will is searching for information about his father and what it means to be a real ghost-talker and he thinks that the organization could actually shed a light on his dad's life. Alona can't detach herself from her previous life and she realizes that her family is moving on. In a moment of great despair she goes to Lily and...
What happens between Alona and Lily was kind of predictable but I really enjoy the way Stacey Kade tells the story. What I like even more is that what happens next isn't all a bed of roses. Alona struggles to adapt to her new situation and Will doesn't help her either. It's difficult for both of them.
I really like the little insight we have on this mysterious organization even if I'm not sure I appreciate the people working for it. Mina's father was really bad.
Again I really like the other ghosts that gravitate around Will and Alona. Liesel and Eric are quite fun to read about. Also the way the author makes her characters speak is very believable.
I'm looking forward to read the third book.