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.
OPINION: 4 STARS
The Short Version:
Both sassy and hefty, Queen of the Dead takes many of the elements found in the first book and expands them in a great way. With the same vibrant characters, new twists to the overall story along with a plot specific to this installment, and an easy shift between the dual perspectives, Kade's writing continues to remain strong, engaging, and fulfilling. Though the ending of this one is a major cliffhanger, it leaves things in the perfect spot for the final installment, with little to be predicted.
The Extended Version:
Alona continues to be her somewhat arrogant self, yet the way being dead has effected and shifted her is also clear. Though she most definitely makes some poor choices, her motivations are easy to understand and see, and the lurking pain she endures shows at just the right moments to keep a brash character sympathetic. Her connection to and feelings for Will had both a fun and gentle element to the book, showing a different side to both.
Will is still somewhat of an outcast, caught by what he is but looking for answers. His affection to Alona comes off in a hilarious way, both annoyed and intrigued by her, and the things he'll do for her, even when she frustrates him, speak volumes for his person. He is fleshed out even more in this installment, with further exploration of his ability, his family, and who he is.
The plot of this one centers around a few major things, that all combine and play into each other in a way that is hard to predict, but completely entertaining to read. With the same humor and fun along the way, despite some of the deeper moments of the book, Kade has built a fantastic world that is vivid and easy to understand. Her worldbuilding continues to grow, revealing new things at the perfect moments, while still doing a remarkable job of keeping things centric to her characters.
Kade's writing has an easy flow to it, with a distinct voice between both Will and Alona. The shifts between the chapters are easy to follow with the perfect endings, tying up one part before changing to the other character. The back and forth between the two is well handled, while still having two different story lines going as well.
This installment kicks things up, showing both the good and bad of both characters in new ways, and even changes the rules some. Kade does a great job of refreshing the reader for book one without data dump repeating things, and gets right into the action quickly. With a new character that adds plenty of mystery and twists, and awesome new elements, Queen of the Dead is a great read that keeps things light and fun.
Source: ARC received from publisher/author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publication Date: May 31, 2011