by Tara Hudson
Read: April 9 - 11, 2013
Published: June 4, 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Around the World Arc Tours
Category: Paranormal Romance, Ghosts, YA
Series: Hereafter book 3
NOTE: Elegy is the third book in a trilogy, but it is safe to read if you have yet to start this series. Find my review for book two, Arise, HERE.
A stalker ghost, misguided Seers, and spellbinding wraiths—Amelia Ashley has faced them all. Now her greatest hope is to spend the rest of her afterlife with her living boyfriend, Joshua. But the demonic forces return to give her an ultimatum: turn herself over to the darkness or watch them murder one living person per week until she does.
Amelia fears she might really be doomed, until the forces of light give her another option. She can join them in their quest to gather souls, with a catch: Once she joins them, she can never see Joshua again.Faced with impossible choices, Amelia decides to take her afterlife into her own hands—and fight back. (From Goodreads)
The third book in a ghost trilogy is where I start to dread the fact that I'm reading a series that features a relationship between a human and someone who is dead. It's when reality sets in, and I realize that there aren't a lot of options that end positively for the couple in question. Although I love the HEA ending, it's a little unrealistic for the ghost to come back to life again, and most other endings involve a lot of sadness. Of course I won't divulge what occurs in Elegy, except to say that it is filled with love and hope, and that I was pleasantly surprised by how appropriate and true it felt to these characters and their story.
My favorite part of the Hereafter series, and the reason I've continued to read it, is the relationship between Amelia Ashley and Joshua Mayhew, who only found each other after Amelia's life had ended. Their relationship contains the sweetness of first love, but also strength and maturity from shared trials, as well as an aching inevitability that Amelia is living on borrowed time. Their commitment to each other despite impossible circumstances, and a constant threat from the Netherworld, gives their relationship a steadfastness of a more mature couple. I love that they are always kind, respectful and supportive of each other, and that despite their major life differences (i.e. Joshua is alive and Amelia is not), I felt like they truly understand each other. They also have a normal, inspiring relationships, which is sometimes rare the young adult paranormal genre (especially the relatable/normal part).
Not only together, I appreciated both Amelia and Joshua individually. Amelia is a likable heroine, who has come a long way from the scared and confused girl at the start of the first book. She is smart and determined to save the people that she loves, but she is no martyr. Amelia is dedicated to defeating the demons and wraiths that have been the cause of so much heartbreak and destruction in her town. In all the pressure she faces, she doesn't start pulling away or making irrational decisions, but decides to do what she believes will make the most difference.
Joshua is in many ways a regular teen boy, which is also refreshing in this genre. He is not a mysterious bad boy, or a traumatized, tortured soul. He has friends, plays baseball and respects his parents. He is open about his feelings for Amelia and is always supportive of her. He is the kind of boy that I wish I'd known in high school.
Of course, Amelia and Joshua are not the only two characters in this series. Several others have stood out to me. I enjoyed Amelia's friction and tentative friendship with Jillian, her contentious relationship with Ruth, her constant worry over her living mother and questions about where her father ended up after his death. In the final book we also get a glimpse of past characters again, and some are in much better places than others.
However, throughout the entire series, especially in the second and third books, I had a lot of trouble with the world building, most specifically the ghost mythology. Eventually it got to be distracting enough to affect my reading. I felt like the limits of how much I could suspend my belief in order to enjoy Amelia and Joshua's story, were being tested beyond their bounds. Many of the ghost rules did not make any practical sense to me, especially once elements change in book 2. Some of the rules seemed to be added just to create tension to the plot, and not because of a good explanation.
If you're looking for a sweet love story within a supernatural setting that has ghost elements, this series is a great choice. If you get hung up on world building and the practicalities of mythology, you may have some problems with this series. In the end I am glad that I met Amelia Ashely and Joshua Mayhew, but my enjoyment of their story would have been much stronger if the ghost elements had made better sense to me.
Cliffhanger Scale: Series conclusion
Love Triangle Factor: NONE for the series
This is a series that I do want to read. I have the first book on my Kindle but I haven't gotten the other two yet. The library that I pay the membership to (that is far away) has all three print copies, but no digital or audio copies. So in effect, I'd need to wait until I'm planning a trip to that area to check the entire series out or perhaps check them out when I'm going on vacation to the western part of the state when I pass thru this county. I say all of that to say that despite what you mention about the world-building and such, I still think I want to give this one a go. I don't seem to get as stressed about the dead/undead relationship as you do for some reason, and it just seems appealing to me to read these books. Plus the covers are super pretty! They aren't at the very top of my READ NOW!! list, but maybe one of these days when I can get my hands on them. :)ReplyDelete
Perhaps Amazon will run a great deal on the second and third books one day. That would be IDEAL. Haha!
Thanks so much for writing this so that I could read it too, since I haven't started the series yet! Love it when you do that, and when you are SO GREAT about putting your spoiler warnings. :)
Asheley, I think you will LOVE this series. I do not think that these issues will bug you either. We can talk about them more as you get into it though. But I think these books will be a treat for you. I hope you can get them soon!Delete
I've been trying to do the no spoilers more and more, especially the further into series I get, and also when they don't seem to be as popular. Or at least make a section of the review spoiler free. It's tough though! Thanks for appreciating my efforts!!
I haven't read this trilogy, but it sounds great! The love story sounds great, too. Awesome review :)ReplyDelete
This is a great love story. I hope that Amelia and Joshua make you swoon too!Delete
I had issues with the first book, so I haven't continued with the series yet. Sounds like some of the problems I had with the world-building, etc., are still unresolved but that the aspects that I did like are still going strong. Maybe one day I'll have time to pick this series up again and give it another shot.ReplyDelete
I had even more trouble with the ghost rules in the second and third book than in the first. But I do love this couple. Tough call! I hope you enjoy them if you pick them up again.Delete
I can't remember if I tried the first book or not, but I agree with you that romances with ghosts just can't end well unless the human decides to, you know, be dead too. Great review as always :)ReplyDelete
You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics
Exactly. It's a tricky situation. And it's pretty cheesy when the ghost is brought back to life - I've seen that done too.Delete
I didn't read your review as a whole since I haven't read the second book yet, but I did enjoy the first one thoroughly. I think the first one was really well written and I'm glad I finally picked up Hereafter and gave it a try. I think you made a great point in your last paragraph since this series for sure isn't for everyone, but it has a unique spin on things and that's one of the things I always grave for in literature. I do agree with you that there are some things in this series that make no sense whatsoever, but it's kind of a guilty pleasure of mine lol. I'm not a huge fan of ghost stories, but this series seems to suit for me. Thanks for your thoughts:)ReplyDelete
I hope you love the rest of the series. Amelia and Joshua are the sweetest couple ever. Definitely a guilty pleasure. And you're right, despite the ghost elements, they feel like a regular couple. Some great first love moments in this series! I hope you enjoy book 2 and 3.Delete
I haven't read many reviews of this trilogy, Lauren--but I LOVE ghost stories. How has this not been higher on my radar? Despite some lack in the ghost mythology, I might give this a try sometime. Thank you for the thoughtful review. :)ReplyDelete
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
I didn't know you loved ghost stories! Do you like ghost love stories? They worry me! I will definitely be on the lookout if you read them. Some great contemporary feeling elements, sweet story with the ghost elements mixed in.Delete
I haven't read this series, though I have heard a lot about it, but I think I'll avoid it. I'm definitely the kind to get hung up on world building and realistic endings and I'm not into ghost stories too much either, so this doesn't seem like it's for me. Great review though, Lauren! :)ReplyDelete
I concur. I don't think this story would be for you. I think the ghost rules would drive you insane. However, I don't think the ending would bother you so much. But I doubt you'd make it there ;). It's good to know what we'll like and what we should avoid.Delete
Great review, Lauren! I haven't read this series and I think I'll hold off a little while longer. It sounds like a good book, but I'm definitely not in the mood right now to read all about world building and other things that might hold me back. Love the review though :)ReplyDelete
Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf
I don't know enough about your tastes to know if you'd have trouble with this one. Some people love it though. You have to go in wanting a love story. That's what drew me to these.Delete
I read the first book when it came out and I remember liking it but not loving it for some reason. I do love ghost stories with this sort of heartbreaking love. I'm a little apprehensive about the world building and ghost mythology issues you mentioned to continue, but perhaps I will someday. I do love the covers. Thanks for sharing! :)ReplyDelete
The covers are pretty! Yeah the mythology got to be more of a problem for me in book 2 and 3. This series definitely has the heartbreaking feel. Such a sweet love between two people that wouldn't have met otherwise, but with an uncertain future as well.Delete
I have read the first two and was surprised that I quite liked them given the awkward circumstances involving a human and a ghost! I like both MCs and I'm glad you enjoyed the final book, I'm intrigued as to how it ends!ReplyDelete
Oh good. I'm glad you enjoyed the first two books, and I really hope you love the end of this one. We'll have to discuss it when you finish the book. Do they come out at the same time in AU as they do here?Delete
This one sounds fantastic! I've not read many human/ghost-relationship stories, but Hereafter sounds like a good one to read. I can't believe the trilogy is already wrapping up! I haven't even started the series, haha! But I hope to soon. I'm really glad to hear you liked the conclusion, Lauren! I hope I do, too. Wonderful review!ReplyDelete
I hope you end up loving this series! It's great when the series is complete so that you can read all the books together or space them out on your own terms. Reading them as they release can be tough!Delete
Unfortunately, this series was just never for me. I didn't read the sequel and don't plan on continuing this series. The reasons being that I just really struggle with ghost stories. Not really my cup of tea.ReplyDelete