Summary: Alyson Noel made waves with her series The Immortals and now has a new series focused on Riley Bloom. The first two books, Radiance and Shimmer are well-written and beautifully paced with a main character who is likable in spite of her flaws, making the entire book relatable and enjoyable.
After an accident kills everyone in her family except for her sister, Ever, Riley Bloom hung around on Earth for a while. But she has finally moved on and crossed the bridge to Here, joining her parents and her dog, Buttercup. Although she still harbors some bitterness about her short life, Riley is anxious to see what the Here (where the time is always Now) holds for her.
When she’s finally given her assignment, she finds that she will be a Soul Catcher, returning to Earth with her mentor, Bodhi, to convince other souls who are clinging to Earth that it is time to cross the bridge into Here and leave their old life behind.
In Radiance, Riley & Bodhi head for an old English castle that has been haunted by a young boy for centuries. He has resisted the efforts of many Soul Catchers to convince him to move on, but Riley is not going to give up easily.
Shimmer follows Riley & Bodhi on a well-earned vacation that turns into a challenge that could trap both Riley & Bodhi, along with the ever-present Buttercup, in the twisted fantasy world of a young girl who was murdered during a slave revolt in the 1700’s. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive those she blames for her death or will Riley end up like the rest of Rebecca’s victims, trapped in her own worst memories for eternity?
I’m looking forward to reading more Riley Bloom books. Despite the main character’s circumstances, the books manage to avoid wallowing in self-pity and instead show a young girl who, despite her untimely end, is continuing to grow and mature in her outlook. Beautiful images and imagery with a beautiful message written in a way that will make the reader root for Riley.
12 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none