As you should know by now, Terri Bruce released the second book in her Afterlife Series, Thereafter, and I LOVED IT. :) At the end, she provides for us some discussion questions, so I thought it would be fun to answer them. If you don't care about spoilers, feel free to continue reading!
1. Hereafter was set in the real world. Thereafter is set in a fantasy world. Does the fantasy setting make the story any more or less believable? Does this change the story or your perceptions of the story in any way? If so, how?
Because Irene was traveling to a new plane of existence away from the real world, I found the purgatory-like realm of Thereafter to be very believable. I knew to expect something different from reality, so my perception of the story didn't change.
2. In some ways, Thereafter is much easier to classify than Hereafter—Thereafter is much more clearly fantasy. Do you agree? In what ways does it adhere to genre conventions and in which way does it deviate from them? Does Thereafter cover any new ground or add anything unique to the genre? What are some other books that Thereafter reminds you of? In what way is it similar to those books? In what way is it different?
I could see how people would be able to classify Thereafter as fantasy much easier than Hereafter. The first book has a much realer setting. I haven't read much more paranormal fantasy or read any recently to say if it adheres to the conventions of paranormal fiction. The last paranormal series I read was Christopher Pike's Remember Me series, which didn't tackle the afterlife. The ghost actually possessed another person to keep living and determine who killed her.
3. How does Irene in Thereafter compare with Irene in Hereafter—is she more or less sympathetic than in Hereafter? Has she grown/evolved since the first book, and if so, how?
4. How would you describe Irene’s character at the beginning of the book? At the end of the book? Does she grow or change during the story?
In the beginning, Thereafter Irene is still Hereafter Irene, and I have zero sympathy for her. She wants her way no matter what is happening, and no one will change her mind. Throughout Thereafter, though, we get to see her grow up. She realizes the things she misses about her life weren't as glorious as she thought they were (they're what got her killed, after all), and that she needs to stop holding on to her life.
5. How would you describe Irene and Jonah’s relationship in this book compared to in Hereafter? Do you think this relationship, as presented in Thereafter, is good for each of them or bad? Why? Do you agree with Irene’s decision at the end of the book to cut off all contact with Jonah?
Irene and Jonah's relationship is a comforting constant in Thereafter. Whereas in Hereafter, Irene kept trying to push Jonah away, in this one, she needs and misses him. When she starts receiving his letters and gifts, and she forces herself to not make the afterlife seem so glorious so he won't try to follow her, the love between the two is very apparent. Unfortunately, it's not good for either of them. Jonah needs to live in the living world, and Irene needs to move on from it, and they're causing more grief than good ultimately. I agree with Irene's decision to cut off contact with Jonah, but it certainly hurt.
6. Irene continues to struggle with her alcoholism in Thereafter—did this seem realistic? Why or why not? Were you frustrated by her inability to overcome her addiction or did you sympathize? Why?
Irene's need for alcohol was very realistic. She was thrown into a world she didn't understand with no one to help her get through it. I'd need a vodka after looking around, too.
Friday, I answer 7-12!