WARNING: Possible Spoiler Alerts (I'll try to only mention teasers already given out.)
Unless you're a writer who lives under the rock under the rock the rest of us live under, you have heard of the struggle of Terri Bruce and her Afterlife series. So I'm so proud and excited that she has come out victorious on the other end and recently released the 2nd book in the series, Thereafter, and that I was offered an e-Arc to review it!
First off, here is the GORGEOUS cover and blurb:
Nothing in life is free. Turns out, nothing in the afterlife is, either.
When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.
Boy, was she wrong.
She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on Earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.
As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.
I came into this book almost with a fresh pair of eyes because it had been so long since I read the first book, Hereafter. But that's also not really a bad thing. Terri wrote the books in a way that they both have what can be a definitive ending, and coming into Thereafter, you won't be confused as to what happened prior.
One thing I never forgot, though: I had to deal with a main character I had to learn to love (I told Terri while reading Hereafter that Irene needed a house dropped on her. lol). Irene is such a strong, hard-headed character with the world's most asked question, "Where are we going after we die?" hanging over her head, and we certainly go with Irene through a LOT. Some of the realms she visits are the stuff out of my craziest dreams and nightmares. Terri paints each scene with such clarity that you feel you're watching Irene instead of reading her. From an elite lady in a fur coat walking into a picturesque scene of a beach sitting inside/outside of a hotel to a black stallion rising from a fire, you see and feel everything Irene sees and feels. By the end of the book, I teared up twice and outright cried once, to Terri's delight. >.>
Irene stumbles across two other ghosts, a Spanish knight from the 11th Century and a 19th Century cowboy, both with such polarized personalities, they fuel that stubborn, pick-up-my-ball-and-go-home Irene Dunphy that annoyed me in Hereafter. The interactions between the three are so real and intense, you can't help but wonder every time they bicker how they will make it without killing each other.
And, (big heart) with that need to hold onto her old life, we get to read more from Irene's pre-afterlife journey guide, Jonah. I loved their relationship in the first book, and to see from him again made MY journey through this book comforting. Yes, I'm speaking as though I'm the one getting his letters in the afterlife.
Terri did a LOT of research, putting together a very cool and sensible world from many myths and theories of the afterlife from around the world. This is a great read for anyone who loves mythology, paranormal fantasy, and a believable female main character.
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If you haven't read Hereafter yet, the e-book is currently $1.99!
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore. Can she wipe the slate clean and get a second chance before it’s too late?