Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Review: Arise (Hereafter Series, #2) by Tara Hudson

Arise (Hereafter Series #2)

Author: Tara Hudson

Purchase on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Synopsis: New Orleans 
Saint Louis 
Number One Cemetery
A night there can change a life . . . or a death.

Increasingly worried that dark spirits will carry out their threats and hurt the people she cares for most, Amelia is ready to try anything to protect them. And for his own very different reasons, Joshua has come to this cemetery at midnight to join her in a powerful ritual.

Both know that once Amelia steps inside the Voodoo circle and the beautiful girl from the Conjure Cafe begins the ceremony, everything will change.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

 Returning to the world of ghosts and love in the second installment in the Hereafter Series, Arise, was done so with low expectations and a bit of reluctance, mostly sheer curiosity spurred me onward since I wasn’t too fond of the first book in the series, Hereafter. I can’t say the sequel proved my low expectations wrong but it did turn out somewhat better than it’s predecessor.

Amelia, our angst-ridden and transparent heroine, has finally gotten the chance to be together with her one true love, Joshua, the boy she helped save from drowning (and who almost got killed by a crazy ghost with power hungry, homicidal tendencies afterward). But happily ever after will have to wait since trouble comes knocking on the door, fugitively speaking, when Ruth (Joshua’s grandmother who’s a Seer) decides to jump ship and head to New Orleans, none too happy Joshua has chosen to date a ghost (who could blame her, really?). Jillian, Joshua’s sister, joins Ruth in her animosity toward Amelia and attempts to make Joshua’s life miserable in the hopes he will see the light and start dating a girl with an actual pulse and who isn’t so see-through. Joshua decides he’s sticking with his invisible girlfriend and has gradually broken away from his friends and his life as the popular jock in order to do so. But a family trip to New Orleans for a big family reunion changes all that. Amelia starts having whacky nightmares, Eli returns to give her a cryptic, eerie warning, and there’s someone in the Mayhew Seer camp that proves he’s much deadlier than they realized.

Let us begin with the characters because there are a whole lot of them in Arise! I did enjoy the Mayhew clan of Seers. They were entertaining bunch from the moment they are introduced. Alex was the main focus from the Seer clan and he plays a big role in the book but more subtly than in your face, until closer toward the end. Amelia is too gullible, too wishy-washy, too melo-dramatic for me to be able to take her as a serious contender for the role of heroine. Even at the end, Gaby is the one who makes the bigger sacrifice and throughout the book she proves to be a better fighter, even as a ghost than Amelia. Joshua is still the sweet, oh-so-wonderfully supportive boyfriend which bordered on nauseating a bit but not nearly as bad as in Hereafter.  Felix, Gaby’s brother, was a crack up and I liked the mixture of his character being rough around the edges but with a good heart. I also liked how close he is with Gaby. Jillian didn’t play too much of a role in this book until closer toward the end and thank God for that! She was probably the most annoying character in the book and incredibly ungrateful. I was hoping she wouldn’t have made it through but alas, my wishes didn’t come true.

I was grateful the story didn’t focus so much on the romance between Amelia and Joshua instead following Amelia, with the aid of Joshua and Annabelle, Joshua’s cousin, to a voodoo shop in the hopes they find help to end Amelia’s nightmares since they’re always making her disappear. They meet Gabrielle, or Gaby, who offers her assistance and performs one insane and equally nightmare inducing ceremony that doesn’t go exactly the way she planned. Amelia is now undead, well sorta. She can become visible to the living, touch objects, change her clothes and can even hear a faux heartbeat, the only drawback, she can’t touch Joshua anymore. But the ceremony was only the beginning to both Gaby and Amelia’s problems with the dark side.

There were some good moments of suspense and build-up. I also liked that the story changed locations and took place in New Orleans, adding a much darker and haunting feel to the background of the plot.

But the book was so dragged out! Amelia spends so much time repeatedly whinnying about needing to leave Joshua in order to protect him but not wanting to hurt him but knowing it’s the right thing. When she wasn’t having crazy nightmares (even though she doesn’t sleep therefore can’t possibly dream but that’s an aspect to the story that is never explained), she’s complaining about breaking up with Joshua then makes stupid mistakes in the process. The nightmares added a bit of suspense and foreshadowing but after a few times of them happening, enough was enough already. The character that ended up being the villain wasn’t at all surprising. From the first moment he is introduced, I’m pretty sure every reader will figure it out (it’s just too obvious). The ending, although both heartbreaking and interesting in certain ways, was also too nicely wrapped up. Joshua was too understanding and accepting. I wanted to see him actually have an argument with Amelia before they made up which would have been more realistic. Amelia, as usual, is not very much help in actually saving people. Gaby’s sacrifice was predictable but I still felt for her. I liked her character.

I wouldn’t say I am a fan of the Hereafter Series nor am I anywhere near in love with this series as others have become, but the sequel offered in actual ghost story that turned out to be better than I expected which was a nice surprise.

About the Author: Born and raised in Oklahoma, Tara Hudson graduated with a degree in law, mostly because she believed all the horror stories about English majors and their careers in the food-service industry. Luckily, she soon remembered how much she loved telling ghost stories, particularly to her girlfriends who liked visiting abandoned cemeteries as much as she did. Tara currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband, son, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.

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