Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 288
Received: ARC from publisher and NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads (may contain spoilers for the first book. Highlight to read):

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.


Last time on The Ghost and the Goth...

I enjoyed the first book in the series (The Ghost and the Goth, review), so I was super excited when I found out there was going to be a sequel. The first book ends well as a standalone, but this second book relies enough on the events of the first that you shouldn't read the sequel until after you've read the first book.

The Ghost and the Goth tackled serious issues with a good dose of levity, and that same winning combination is here as well. Alona provides mean-girl snark but still manages to be completely lovable. Will is a lot more sure of himself now and seems to be in the process of taking control of his life again. Both characters grow a lot throughout this book and it is their growth that adds a depth to the series that isn't really hinted at on the covers. It was nice to fall back into the swing of things with this pair. They work so well together; I could happily read many more books featuring them.

Love and hate

...Which brings me to the biggest downside of Queen of the Dead: Alona and Will's relationship. The book opens with the two of them together, tentatively feeling out (literally, though maybe not so tentatively then) a romantic relationship. The first few chapters are absolutely perfect! Wow, who knew PG/PG-13 kissing could be so hot?? Even though they're together, they still maintain a love-hate relationship that sizzles.

The honeymoon ends far too quickly though, and instead of getting a book full of Alona-Will goodness, most of the time they don't even share page time. Huge, teasing disappointment.

Instead, Will spends a lot of time with Mina, a ghost-talker like Will. I understand why Will wants to spend time with Mina--she's a ghost-talker AND she has connections to his father, but, ugh, I so hated her. I bonded majorly with Alona over our shared dislike of Mina.

The girl knows how to find trouble

While Will is being a traitorous meanie (ok, so I'm biased), Alona spends her time getting into trouble. Alona is a strong personality and she can totally stand on her own without Will (can you tell how much I love Alona? She's a BFF character for sure), but boy does she know how to make a mess of things. These parts were fun because she just kept digging her hole deeper and deeper. I enjoyed her scenes a lot more than the Will/Mina scenes.

I should probably mention that the book alternates chapters between Will's perspective and Alona's perspective. Both voices are completely distinct and the dual narration does a really good job in allowing the reader to connect with the characters when they're talking and also see another side of them through each other's eyes. It also helps events move along at a nice pace and teases you to keep reading ahead.

The story itself is good, but I wanted a little more. The first book had more of a mystery than this one. Honestly though, this isn't a series that I read for the plot. I read it because I love the characters and the world of ghost-talkers. We do gain more insight into ghost-talkers in this book, but our understanding is still tantalizingly incomplete. We also learn that Will's dad had a whole lot of secrets that Will is only beginning to uncover.

Of endings and new beginnings

I'm not sure how I feel about the resolution. It's, well, I can't really say anything without giving away spoilers, but I'm not sure I like it. I trust Stacey, though, so I'm holding out judgement on that until after I see how she handles it in book three.

This one is wrapped up pretty well, so I'm not sure what the blurb is talking about with a "killer cliffhanger." This isn't really a cliffhanger--killer or otherwise. I mean, there's definitely more to Will and Alona's story, but this main story arc is wrapped up just fine. That doesn't mean I'm not still impatiently awaiting the next book, because I so am! If you liked The Ghost and the Goth, then definitely check out Queen of the Dead.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key

Want to read about the first book?
Book review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Cover review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Read as part of the All Male Review Challenge


  1. I still haven't read the first book, but I really want to after reading your review. I'm not going to read this review yet, until I finish the first book. Promise I'll come back...

  2. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth, and I've been excited to read the sequel ever since. I'm glad you (mostly) enjoyed it. Can't wait to read it for myself!

  3. I think I would also be irked by Will's separation from Alona, especially if it's as amazing as you say. I must check out this series. Are there going to be more or is it just the two books?

  4. I The Ghost and the Goth on my short list, I need to get to them because I'm just so intrigued about them.

  5. I didn't like where the book was going with the whole Lily thing at first, but it grew on me. I'm really curious to see what happens with it.
    As much as I would have liked to see more Will and Alona, I admire the author from doing something different with the second book of a paranormal series.

  6. I haven't read this one but am hoping to in the next couple of months. I loved Alona as a character and her relationship with Will so it's too bad that they don't spend a lot of time together in this one :(

  7. Great review. I love the covers of this series. I really need to give it a try :)

  8. Thanks for the review. I never liked the cover of the book, seemed cheesy, but it sounds interesting. I may give it a try. Thanks for the review.

  9. Gina, I hope you do get to read the first book. The plot isn’t quite as cohesive as I usually like, but the characters are so strong. Alona is like no other character and I like how Will holds his own against her strong personality.

    Natalie, I was surprised too! It had a lot more heart than I was expecting. I think you’ll really enjoy the sequel!

    Logan, They’re so good together! It was such a tease having them be separated for so many pages. The book started with them kissing and togther and I was all like, “Score! This is going to be great!” and then that stupid other girl came into the picture. There is going to be at least one more book in the series.

    Alex, I think you’ll like them! Will and Alona are so cute together :)

    Alison, Yeah, I’m not sure about the whole Lily thing either. I can see it working ok, I think. I’m not sure. I’m not sure if I can adjust my mental picture. I do agree with you about the author avoiding the cliches of sequels. At least they didn’t become a boring couple.

    A Canadian Girl, Yeah, it’s disappointing. But at least when they’re separate they’re still their same good selves from the first book.

    Nic, The covers are so perfect. They really look exactly like how I picture the characters.

    Lena, The covers are a little fluffier than the books actually are. There’s more depth to the books, but the cover models look just like how I picture the characters.

  10. I need to read tGaTG! I love the covers it kind of reminds me of Nevermore(i need to read that one too lol) Great review!


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