Esme’s SPFBO 2017: Hereafter by Terri Bruce

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This was part of Fantasy Factions grouping and has since been eliminated.


Plot:

Irene is a 36 year old woman who still likes to party, the book opens with her hungover and heading home thinking of excuses to call out of work because she feels so shitty. It’s not the first time either, she’s used every excuse under the sun and doesn’t know how many more times her boss will let this slide.

She gets home and sees that she’s missed a ton of calls, from her boss, her friends and her family members. The time is also off, her watch reads 2 o clock, but when she gets home it says it’s 11am. Lot’s of things start taking a turn for the weird, and Irene can’t explain it.

She runs into a kid who asks if she’s dead, because she’s glowing. The kid, Jonah, is fascinated with the afterlife and has seemingly read every book on the afterlife he could get his hands on. Irene freaks out and is in some serious denial for a long time, she can’t come to terms with the fact her life is over.

He starts helping Irene come to terms with the fact that she’s dead, and trying to help her reach the real afterlife. They believe that ghosts are stuck in a limbo, and that Irene should be able to pass on into the real afterlife if they can just figure out how to do that.

Final Score: 7.5/10

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Characters:

Irene is the main character, and for most of the book I didn’t like her. It could be because I was once a manager to people who acted a lot like her – people in their mid 30’s who were calling out hung over and lying about it, it gets on my nerves. She’s also pretty snappy and unkind to Jonah for the first half of the book, she keeps getting angry that he doesn’t have ALL the answers, and is more or less biting the hand that’s feeding her. Jonah doesn’t have to help her, he’s doing it because he’s a nice person. She would tease him over not having a girlfriend, not having a life, reading too much, being a nerd etc. They do develop a different relationship that’s a much healthier friendship than it was in the beginning of the book.

Final Score: 6/10


World Building:

This book pulls on a lot of different afterlife theories and beliefs from different cultures, so that was kind of interesting.

Like the Egyptians believed, the things you die with carry over with you to the next world. Your food on your person, or in Irene’s case she still has her car.

Irene feels like a real person, she can feel a heartbeat, she can feel her skin going clammy if she’s anxious about something, etc.

Ghosts can see other ghosts, she’s developing a relationship with her one time elderly neighbour who passed away several years ago. Some ghosts have been around for hundreds of years.

Kids can sometimes sense ghosts, there are two grandchildren who can sense their grandmother pushing them on the swing.

Ghosts can somewhat interact with their environment, if they try hard enough they can move things around or get someone to stop and look around thinking they heard something.

Final Score: 7.5/10


Pacing/Prose/Tone:

This was overall a lighter book, there were some funny moments and it wasn’t all that complex – the story was straightfoward and was one of those books you can just kind of turn off your brain and enjoy it.

The pacing was pretty quick, it wasn’t a terribly long book and there was something going on most of the time.

Pacing Final Score: 8/10

Writing Final Score: 7.5/10


Originality:

I don’t read too many after life stories, I do come across them from time to time though. This book took a lot of tropes and put them all into one book with the characters trying to tease out what’s just a myth, and what myths/religions are built on reality.

Final Score: 7/10


Audience:

  • For people who like single pov
  • For people who like female pov
  • For people who like urban fantasy
  • For people who like afterlife fantasy
  • For people who like lighter tones
  • For people who like quick stories

Wrap up:

I can’t say I liked the character much, but the world building and plot line kept me interested. I think if you like party girl type characters this book would jive better with you than it did with me. I did appreciate that she grew a little bit by the end though.

Final Score: 43.5/60 or 7.25/10

 

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