Review: Arise by Tara Hudson


 

   Title: Arise

   Author: Tara Hudson

   Publisher: HarperTeen

   ISBN: 978-0062026798

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life…a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

Review:

Arise picks up where Hereafter left off, with Amelia still a ghost and a long term relationship with Joshua looking more and more unlikely.  Nobody can see her, after all, and he looks like a nut case walking through the school campus holding her hand or talking to her.  Worse, he is avoiding his friends and starting to lose his social standing at school so he can spend time with her.  This only makes Amelia feel guilty and stressed out.  She realizes that a relationship with her will make Joshua a social outcast and it’s tearing her up inside. 

I thought that the setting and story elements were stronger in Arise than Hereafter.  Joshua’s family heads to New Orleans to spend the Christmas holidays with family, and Amelia is immediately surrounded by a group of young Seers.  Instead of wanting to banish her forever, they seem to want to help her.  Can she trust them?  I was immediately skeptical of their motives.  Joshua’s sister, Jillian, had me the most suspicious.  After Amelia saved her from certain death and her Seer abilities were unlocked, Jillian did nothing but deny that she can see and hear Amelia.  I kept wondering why she trying to be deceptive.  Was it because she was in denial, or was there a more sinister motive behind it?

Without giving too much of the plot away, I did like the voodoo aspects that were introduced to the storyline, but wish that that they were a little more believable.  Amelia’s new friend, Gabby, performs a voodoo ritual that drastically changes Amelia.  The ritual was supposedly learned by reading a spell in a voodoo priestess’ shop, and it just seemed wrong to me that Gabby could alter the dead just by reading a spell in a book.  Even though she was interested in voodoo and even though she was related to a voodoo practitioner, I would have expected that a spell that powerful would demand a lot more effort than waiting for the book to be left open on that particular page.  Maybe by virtue of the fact that they are in New Orleans, the very air that surrounded Gabby gave her the knowledge and the magical powers necessary to perform the spell. 

I felt that this book is guilty of telling, instead of showing, what is going on.  There were huge info dumps after Amelia meets the other Seers, as well as after she meets Gabby.  These scenes of long explanatory exchanges were boring to me, and made me question the believability of the facts being revealed.  It ruined the suspense for me, and bogged down the story.

This series isn’t really clicking for me, and I don’t think I will continue with it.  While the premise is awesome, the writing style doesn’t work for me.  All of those snapping and whipping heads, along with the twisted lips and snarling, growling, and hissing just sounds painful and overdone.  Nobody just says anything in Arise – they shriek, gasp, and choke constantly, which made me relieved that Amelia was already dead.  The constant recoiling, flopping, and clawing would probably have killed her if she wasn’t already a ghost.

If you enjoyed Hereafter, you will enjoy Arise.  If you are new to the series, I suggest sampling a few chapters before purchasing.

Grade: C-

Available in Print and Digital

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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