Author: Alyson Noël
Warning: Spoilers (and I spill the ending).
So it’s Friday, and that means my weekly post. This week I’m reviewing Radiance by Alyson Noël. It’s the first novel in a planned series by the author of Evermore. Instead of Ever being the protagonist, Riley’s the one the novel focuses on.
I waited all summer for this novel to come out, and I bought it August 31st, 2010, the day it came out. This novel is about Riley’s adventures after she crosses the bridge into the afterlife, a place called Here where time is always Now. Riley reunites with her parents and yellow lab Buttercup, and her existence continues in pretty much the same way it had on Earth: Her new house is exactly the same, her neighbourhood is the same, etc. Once she settles in, she has to go to school.
Riley’s first day of junior-high opens up with a bizarre assembly that everyone else seems to understand. Her teacher is this old dude dressed like a hippie who glitters. And during the assembly, kids leave their seats, stand on a stage, and reveal their sparkling nature. After the assembly, a kid named Bodhi (major character) approaches Riley and says she needs to follow him. Riley seriously doubts this, and she seems to have a serious problem with this guy’s appearance, starting with his hair and ending with his shoes.
Nevertheless, Riley follows Bodhi to this strange room where she’s greeted by Aurora, Claude, Royce, Samson, and Celia. They introduce themselves as The Council, and it’s their job to help everyone find their place in the afterlife. Aurora explains that on Earth, life can get in the way of who a person is truly meant to be, but that Here in the afterlife, a person is free to live out their destinies. Riley also learns Here isn’t just an eternity of freedom; she’s gotta work.
After taking an honest look at her life on Earth, Riley realises she was a brat. She thinks this whole being dead thing is unfair, because she’s twelve when she dies, and all she wants is to be a teenager. The Council assigns her the job of Soul Catcher, and her guide is Bodhi. She learns about her first assignment: A Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross over, but they failed.
Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi return to Earth to get Radiant Boy. There’s not much information on him, other than the fact that he’s ten years old and Bodhi failed in getting him to cross the bridge. The Radiant Boy is this ghost that at first glance Riley’s truly afraid of, especially when she sees he’s carrying dental equipment, he’s disguised as a clown, and he has snakes; but after awhile, she realises he can’t hurt her since they’re already both dead. As soon as she realises this, the disguise goes away, and the Radiant Boy turns out to be ten-year-old triplets Hans, Dieter, and Wolfgang.
After a long talk with the boys about how they’ve been repeating the same routine day after day and night after night for the past several centuries, the boys decide to listen to Riley, and go to the afterlife. So Bodhi and Buttercup take them across the bridge.
I really liked this novel. After reading about Riley from Ever’s point of view, it was interesting to gain Riley’s perspective on things. I liked the way the author imagines the afterlife, and the characters were pretty interesting. This is a very quick read—one hundred ninety-two (192) pages—but it’s a good story. It might be a good idea to at least read Evermore before Radiance so you know what’s going on and so you know a little bit about the sisters, but you can still enjoy and understand Radiance without having read Evermore.
I hope you enjoyed my review and I’ll update again in a week.