This is the first book in the Riley Bloom series which is a spin from Alyson Noel’s Immortals series where the protagonist is Ever Bloom, Riley’s older sister.
As is probably obvious then, the protagonist of this series is Riley herself a twelve year old girl who was tragically killed, along with her parents and dog; Buttercup in a car accident whose only survivor was Ever.
This story takes place about a year after Riley died and as it turns out, the afterlife is not remotely what she expected. Worse than anything, she finds out that she still has to go to school! Not even death can get you out of that. But shortly after, her short life is judged and she is given a job as a Soul Catcher.
What’s a Soul Catcher? Well, it’s someone who persuades other spirits that still linger on Earth plane for one reason or another to move along to the Here and Now (the afterlife).
So let’s get the first question out of the way. Do you need to be familiar with the Immortals series? The short answer is ‘no’ as Riley’s back story is given in this book bringing readers up to speed. However, the longer answer is more complex than that. Ever is in high school and is written from that perspective. As such, it’s a young adult book. Also, the first book in that series; Evermore covers the car accident in more detail, such as how it happened, how she came to survive and actually introduces Riley in a lot more detail in her ghost form.
Perhaps the answer is to read Evermore prior to Radiance, then? Not really. The stories, whilst connected are aimed at different audiences. As already stated, Immortals is aimed at the young adult but because Riley is twelve, it’s aimed at a much younger audience and it’s apparent in the style of writing in that, like the Immortal series, it’s written in first person perspective.
The obvious problem is, of course, is that Riley sometimes comes across as too old for her age. It doesn’t happen that often, but it’s noticeable such as where she overcomes her fears and learns how to handle them. I still don’t know how to do that! Whether it would be to a younger reader, I have no way of knowing.
As such, I can’t give it five stars. But I did enjoy it, and it was a very quick and light read and I think fans of the Immortal series will enjoy it to see what happened to Riley after her departure in that series.