Author: Alyson Noel
Source: ARC from Macmillan via Net Galley
Publish Date: April 24th 2012
I hereby award this book 5 wings!
As always, I love Alyson Noel's covers. This is no exception. I love the soft, pastel hues and the simplistic style.
I have been a fan of Alyson Noel's books since I read EVERMORE (The Immortals Series)
I like her style of writing and the ease with which I can sink into her stories. I think The Immortals Series was classified as for Older Teens, whereas the Riley Bloom series is YA. But either way, her stories are fast-paced, fun-packed, enjoyable reads.
As I said in my review of DREAMLAND (Riley Bloom#3), Riley is a Soul Catcher - one who would do a whole hell of a lot better if she could act a bit less like the eternal 12 year old she is stuck as. If she could start realising that, maybe she could progress. I know you are probably thinking "She's dead, she died at 12, she can't age after death" and yes, I would agree. Yet Bodhi, her guide, has told her that it's not impossible for her to make thirteen. Which is the one thing Riley wants beyond all else.
Well in WHISPER, she starts off the same old Riley. However, there is a lesson in store that may affect how she acts.
After begging the Council to give her a "more challenging Soul Catch", Riley realises she may well have bitten off more than she can chew. This time, she is assigned to a Roman Gladiator by the name of Theocoles, nick-named the Pillar of Doom.
*Upon learning this, I internally cringed for Riley - she's a 12 year old girl, he's a Gladiator, yeah - that should work out well*
Bodhi takes her where she needs to go, but neither he nor Buttercup can be a part of this Soul Catch - this is something Riley must undertake alone. The worst part of which is, previous Soul Catchers have tried to help Theocoles into the afterlife - all of whom became trapped in his world instead. So can Riley, a skinny 12 year old without much life experience, help Theocoles or will she wind up stuck too?
Upon entering Theocoles's world, Riley meets a girl by the name of Messalina. This girl is everything Riley aspires to be. She's tall, beautiful, has the more mature figure of a teenager. Whereas Riley sees herself as short, plain and feels sort of sad and pathetic about her none existent figure.
Messalina convinces Riley that her only chance to get through to Theocoles, lies in becoming a part of his world. She tells her that to accomplish this, first she must look the part - giving her a magical make-over, the likes of which Riley has never seen before. She is transformed into the beautiful teenager she yearns to be.
Made over and with Messalina by her side, Riley believes she stands a chance of doing what she came to do, help Theocoles into the afterlife that awaits him. However, her quest to help him is a little waylaid when Riley meets Dacian. A handsome, sophisticated boy. One who pays her the attention she has always dreamed about.
There's something not right, but Riley cannot put her finger on it. Will she figure it out or is she doomed to become trapped and live in this world with Messalina, Theocoles and Dacian?
I really liked this story and even think that it is the best Riley Bloom novel yet! I like the fact that this is her most challenging Soul Catch yet and from the beginning it promised to be entertaining. Whilst Riley's previous challenges have been something I could never hope to pull off myself, the challenge that lay in this book was the hardest yet. Riley really had to work her socks off to try and get this one right. I missed her funny, full on rows with Bodhi, as he took more of a backseat in this book. But it was good to see Riley have to learn to act more the age she wants to be than her usual argumentative, perhaps a little spoilt self.
I love how Alyson Noel's books always make me smile. I've read a few book lately that have made me cry and it's good to take a break from that and be highly entertained and amused by Riley's antics. It's good to relax with a book that is guaranteed to perk me up.
I sure hope the future holds as much entertainment as this did. I don't want it to be all doom and gloom for Riley, but it just wouldn't be the same if it was all sunshine and rainbows. I also hope she learns to let her guard down and make some real friends.
I eagerly await the next installment in the series.
Thanks to Macmillan and Net Galley for providing this ARC. As always, I am truly grateful for the books I get.