Published: December 23rd 2013 by HarperCollins
Format: ARC, 325 pages
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When Callie's life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven.
Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.
However, Callie uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls who always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.
As she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love-and break.
I think the best way to sum up my feelings about this book is to say it could have been better. I found myself strangely disappointed by the story, its characters, and its eventual conclusion.
Firstly, there’s the protagonist, a selfish, whiny, clueless girl who can’t see what’s in front of her face until she dies. Callie’s always seeking her next thrill and doing dangerous things, and doesn’t really spend any time with her father.
She speeds dangerously and gets herself killed in a ‘tragic accident’, and ends up in a weird limbo area called The Prism. Here she rages against her death (this is a dream, I’ll wake up soon!), meets three mysterious Ghost Guides, and is generally freaked out (I don’t blame her!). But she’s apparently not too freaked out to notice the blue-grey colour of one of the Guide’s eyes. She describes one as being deeply tanned, the other as having a pixie-cut, and then spends a whole paragraph mooning over the third one’s eyes. It was sooooo obvious he was going to be Boy 2 in a love triangle.
Let’s talk about that love triangle! Callie’s boyfriend Nick is keeping secrets from her, but Callie is wilfully blind and ignores all the signs. It’s so frustrating! And there’s Thatcher, her stormy-eyed Ghost Guide who’s hiding all sorts of secrets as well. I liked that Callie and Nick’s relationship had already been established when the book started. After more than a year together Callie had started thinking they were the perfect couple but it was pretty obvious what Nick’s big secret was. On the other hand, I would have thought that Callie would be too busy … I don’t know adjusting to being dead … to worry about Thatcher, no matter how wonderfully expressive his eyes were, but both inexplicably fall for each other throughout the narrative. (sarcasm)My favourite part (end sarcasm) is that Thatcher, having been dead for ages, supposedly doesn’t have any human emotions, except that he obviously does because he feels something for Callie!
The plot of this book wasn’t engaging in my opinion. A lot of it was really obvious, even the supposed plot twists, and my dislike of the protagonist meant I was apathetic to her plight. I really couldn’t bring myself to care if her haunting was going well, and I decided early on that if she was stupid enough to listen to Reena and Leo instead of Tatcher, then she deserved the consequences. It’s not that I don’t understand Callie’s desire to stay on Earth. It’s that she’s incredibly self-centred and makes horrible decisions based on her very limited understanding of what’s going on around her. There basically wouldn’t be a plot if Callie listened to others and tried to understand her place in everything, but since she’s so vain and egotistical, she thinks that she’s an exception to all the rules and can do whatever she wants.
Not that it’s very different from how Callie was when she was alive. This is the girl who thought she deserved a brand new BMW convertible because her mother was dead. The girl who assumed that her best friend was forgiving of her bitchiness was because that’s how you treat your best friend after her mother dies.
The world building in this novel is definitely my favourite part. What kept me reading this book was my eagerness to find out how everything works. When people die they’re sent to the Prism, where they begin their haunting. This means helping those they’ve left come to terms with their passing and helping them move on. Once that’s done, souls can move on and merge with the Solus, the soul of the universe. It’s not very different from the other afterlives I’ve seen depicted in books, but I liked the idea of each prism and energy sharing.
The book ends with a plot-twist supposed to leave readers wanting the sequel, Dust to Dust, in their hands yesterday. Personally I think it’s a cheap plot device, and considering how much of this book was useless waffling and Callie traipsing between two boys, I think the story could have been told in one solid YA novel, rather than two mediocre ones.
I won’t be picking up the sequel. I’ve had enough of Callie, Nick and Tatcher. If there was a book about the Callie’s best friend, Carson, I’d pick that up.