Title: Queen of the Dead
(The Ghost and the Goth #2)
Author: Stacey Kade
May Contain Spoilers
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.
I really, really like this series! The characters are so much fun, and Stacey Kade successfully gives Will and Alona distinctive voices in their alternating chapters. I always know who the current narrator is, even without seeing the chapter headings, and it’s refreshing that they are both so different. Alona is spoiled, brash, and used to getting her own way, while Will is much more restrained and not nearly as abrasive. I liked Will better both in the previous book and at the beginning of Queen of the Dead, but I am happy to say that Alona is actually going through some very convincing character development. Now I like them both equally, though Alona still had lapses to her meaner past, but now it’s a flaw she needs to overcome, instead of just an annoyance when her selfishness rears its ugly head.
I don’t want to reveal many spoilers, because the plot twists and turns were so delightful, so I’ll briefly touch on a few of the elements that I liked best about this outing with Will and Alona. I enjoy the chemistry between them, even though at the start of the book it’s obvious that Alona is calling the shots in that department. Will’s crush on the fiery beauty seems doomed to failure. After all, Alona is a ghost, but more importantly, she earns herself quite a bit of joy manipulating him and taking charge of their relationship. Alona is a master at getting people to do her bidding, and she doesn’t hesitate to use her wiles on Will. Everything to her is a competition. I have to admit that I wasn’t her biggest fan in the beginning, and I thought Will was a sap for playing along with her. That’s the problem with being a good guy, though – everyone thinks they can take advantage of you, and in Will’s case, that is certainly true. He wants to help everyone, even if they don’t deserve it.
Will meets other people with the ability to see and talk to ghosts, and this causes so much friction between Alona and Will. I liked this! Alona actually had to step back and see that Will wasn’t going to be there just because he thought she was hot and she wanted him to be at her beck and call. Talk about a rude awakening! With her parents already moving on with their lives, Alona gets a taste of just how shallow her life was. Of course she’s stubborn, so it takes a while for the lesson to sink in. There were actually a few times when I was afraid that she wasn’t going to get it, but she finally redeemed herself and allowed herself to grow.
Will’s new acquaintances had me uneasy. These guys don’t fool around, and their idea of a “test” almost gets Will killed. That should have given him a clue to look for friends elsewhere. I mean, really? Letting him get trapped in a fire and almost burned to a crisp? That is so not cool, but Will is a bit bull-headed, too, and he needed a little more convincing to finally see the light. Friends shouldn’t let friends walk into traps and almost get killed! Duh! Come on, Will, you are way smarter than that!
If you enjoyed The Ghost and The Goth, you will enjoy Queen of the Dead as well. Stacey Kade has gotten very comfortable with her characters, and you can tell that she enjoys putting them through their paces. Those paces are blistering, with the events taking place over just a few short days, and the suspense mounts with every chapter. I didn’t want the put the book down, and once I finally had the time to sit down and read it, that’s all I did. I didn’t even want to stop to make dinner, and if you know me at all, you know how much I enjoy my food! The romance is sweet, the action intense, and the humor effectively breaks up the tension. I am so hyped for the next book!
Review copy provided by publisher