For Supernatural Saturday, I'm reviewing Kate Brian's Hereafter. Jess reviewed the first book in the series Shadowlands awhile back, and I decided to follow up!
Supernatural Saturday is where we review the latest supernatural titles!
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
Brian had set up an intriguing, creative premise at the end of Shadowlands, but my reservations about the first book made me slightly wary about what to expect in the sequel.
Fortunately for me, I decided to give Hereafter a chance, anyway. And I'm incredibly glad I did. Brian has proven just how versatile she is by writing something that is stylistically different from the first book, but still fits into the world she's created.
However, things aren't going to remain peaceful for long. The secret of Juniper's Island - which Rory learned at the end of Shadowlands, is about to impact Rory in ways that she never imagined. Now, as she tries to unravel the mystery of why things are going wrong on the island, she's about to find herself confronted with a loss she'd never thought she'd have to face - alone.
Things that worked:
Rory's clearly evolved from the first book. She's smarter, stronger, but also more cautious. I loved watching how she took in her newfound situation, both trying to learn from it and trying to adjust to it.
I especially liked the fact that she makes it very clear at several points, that she's not entirely happy with the situation. She's understandably weirded out by the fact that she's now trapped on Juniper's Island - for better or worse - and there's nothing she can do about it.
There's a strong sense of self-awareness to Rory, which I think that readers who like strong, efficient heroines will appreciate.
* The mythology/world-building
The mythology behind Juniper Island was mysterious and intriguing. Brian's clearly spent a lot of time figuring out how Juniper works, and how people like Rory work in relationship to the island.
She's also created enough loose ends to keep the reader intrigued until book three - e.g. the question of how the Shadowlands works, and whether it's possible to return from the Shadowlands.
For a book that spends quite a bit of time setting up the mystery behind the island, and the third book, the pacing of Hereafter moves along briskly. Brian does a fantastic job of providing the necessary exposition - e.g. revealing the cave walls with all of the names of the lifers on the island - and interspersing that with the ongoing mystery of why the island is going wrong.
My attention was kept riveted the entire time, and I was kept intrigued until the end.
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
Because of the writing style - the interspersing chapters between Rory and the villain - I felt like it was relatively easy to figure out who the villain of the story was early on.
However, I don't think this is necessarily indicative of there being anything wrong with Brian's writing. I think it's more indicative of the fact that like Shadowlands, I've read and watched too many things with similar premises, so it was just obvious to me who I should be focusing on for the villain.
* The ending.
Similar to Shadowlands, Hereafter concludes rather abruptly. Just as Rory has two fairly large revelations dropped on her, the book just ends. A lot of questions and concerns will obviously go unanswered until book three.
While I thought that the ending in Hereafter was handled much more strongly than Shadowlands, I would have loved for the book to end on a more definitive note, if that makes any sense.
I completely understand that Brian wants to create a cliffhanger to encourage people to come back for book three, but I also suspect that readers may feel burned out by trilogies, and may not be as receptive to an ending that has so many loose ends. Of course, YMMV
Ultimately, Hereafter provides a lot of the questions inspired from the first book, and also sets up the third book of the trilogy nicely. I would highly recommend this book for fans of Brians, but also for fans of writers like Becca Fitzpatrick and Josephine Angelini.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Hereafter from Disney Hyperion, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!