Thursday, June 9, 2011

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
May 31, 2011; Hyperion Book CH


Summary

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth. (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

I really liked The Ghost and the Goth and was excited to for Queen of the Dead. Luckily, I liked Queen of the Dead just as much as the first book. It took the series' plot in a completely different direction than I expected, which , for the most part, I like.

I expected two things from Queen of the Dead. First, it would focus a lot Alona and Will's romantic relationship, which would be tested and ultimately grow stronger. Second, Alona and Will would be a ghostly team and would solve all the local ghosts' problems. These things sort of happened, but not really. The book focused a lot on the characters as individuals. They had different challenges and largely faced them alone.

Alona is a hard character to like and yet I do. She spends much of this book in a tizzy, because her parents are starting to recover from her death. Her mom throws away some of the things in Alona's room and her dad's wife is pregnant. Alona freaks out and nags Will to convince her parents to leave all her stuff alone and honor her memory. Alona seems so shallow and selfish to bemoan the fact that her parents are not eternally miserable. But then again, it would be awful to have to watch life go on without you - to feel like you're forgotten. So while her actions were irritating, I could sympathize. And deep down, her intentions are good.

Will is once again the more approachable, likable character. Even more likable than in the first book. Alona levels Will's darkness, just like Will dampens her shallowness. Will is still a guy of few words and a dry wit, but he no longer feels so isolated. Alona knows the real Will and also helps control the ghosts. Then Will meets something who throws his entire identity into question. What does it mean to be able to see ghosts? Should he use it to help ghosts or humans? He discovers he's not alone in his ability to sense ghosts and has to decide who's more important: Alona or the humans?

As I mentioned the plot was totally unexpected. I would have liked a book where Alona and Will just went around being ghostly heroes, but I admire the author for taking the series down a different path. Will is intrigued when he meets Mina, another seer. She opens his eyes to a seer world he didn't know existed. One where the ghosts are the bad guys. Meanwhile, Alona is losing everyone - her parents don't care about her and maybe Will doesn't need her anymore. She makes a desperate plea for attention which has drastic consequences.

The plot moves smoothly until the end when it flies. It ends at a great point. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but with an open plot arc that makes me super excited for the third book. As annoying as Alona can be, she and Will play off one another perfectly. The two points of view make for a fun series.

Rating: 4 / 5

11 comments:

  1. Beautiful review. I love how you describe the way Will and Alona balance one another. I actually like Alona a lot, but I love how Will tempers her. I would have liked to see them be ghost heroes too, but I do like the direction Stacey went in instead.

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  2. I haven't read The Ghost and the Goth yet but it is at the top of my list for summer reads. When I first read the description of this series I didn't think it would really hold my interest but then I started reading all of these fabulous reviews and knew that I would be missing out. I am so looking forward to this series, especially after reading your review!
    Bonnie @ HandsAndHome

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  3. I just finished this one and really liked it. Alona's so selfish but I like that she's learning and trying to change her personality a bit (even when it's forced like when she has to say something nice so she doesn't fade!). Twisty ending!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

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  4. Loved this series! Nice review!

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  5. Oh I love when a second book is just as good as the first:) I also like that even though Alona is frustrating and a bit irritating at times, she still is likeable for the most part - that's pretty impressive:) I think I would like to count the number of YA male characters named Will though, it's a pretty impressive number I think!

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  6. Awesome review! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one, but I haven't gotten to it yet since I haven't had the chance to read book one.

    I love the fact that the protagonist is one of those characters that you don't want to like, but ultimately charms you into it.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    On The Blog: Early Review of Half-Blood (Covenant #1)

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  7. ha! Seems like these characters balance each other out well. I haven't read this series yet, but I can't help but feel sorry for Alona, even is she is a but shallow and annoying. Glad you are having fun with this series.

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  8. I loved the Ghost and the Goth so I need to read this one soon! I agree that while Alona is annoying, you can tell that deep down, she is a nice person. ;)

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  9. I love it when a sequel matches up to the first book. I also really love the way you describe Will and Alona's relationship. Such a interesting dynamic, really interesting. Awesome review :)

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  10. Great review! Looks like a very interesting book, the idea is very intriguing.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  11. You know I'venever read any of these books but have been wanting to! I should borrow these books from the library. They look so fun to read.

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