Saturday, July 7, 2012

Supernatural Saturday Review: Hereafter (Hereafter #1)

Can there truly be love after death? Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life--or her actual death--she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but "will" him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their new-found happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world... forever.
[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   1.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Ghost story guzzlers
High point:  The descriptions
Low point:  The characters
Reader maturity: 13+

I'm a huge fan of ghost stories so I set the bar high, even higher than I do for most books, which means I'm less likely than normal to be satisfied. Though I tried not to compare it to my other favorites in the genre, Hereafter didn't quite reach my expectations.

The writing, on the whole, is pretty good. The descriptions really brought the scenery and otherworldly beings to life. I could picture High Bridge Road and Joshua's house with ease. However, the dialogue seemed stiff and unnatural. At first, I passed it off as a consequence of Amelia wandering the earth alone for years after her death, but when Joshua entered the picture, he, too, spoke in a manner uncharacteristic of a high school guy.

Regarding the characters, Amelia's powers come too easily. I never felt that there was a struggle or that there was anything I should be rooting for. At the point when Amelia comes into her powers, I didn't feel excited or relieved or, really, much of anything. As for Joshua, he's too perfect. I think characters need flaws or conflict to seem real, and while he does have a point of conflict in the novel, it's not deeply explored. He accepts everything completely and immediately, with no internal struggle or difficulty, which doesn't seem realistic to me.

Title:  Hereafter
Author:  Tara Hudson
Genre:   Fiction - Supernatural
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased

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