Author: Naomi Clark
Series: Afterlife # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pub. Year: 2009
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I receive a copy of this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
Yasmin Stoker is a ghost tour guide who spends her days showing tourists around Shoregrave’s haunted hotspots. She also happens to be a wraith who spends her nights hunting Revenants, newly-risen flesh-eating vampires. On one of her regular hunts, she witnesses a mysterious ghostly girl pulling the body of a teenage boy underground. Who and what is this girl, and why is she attacking men around the city? Yasmin investigates, but it quickly becomes clear that somebody wants to keep her from finding the killer and they’ll do anything-including ambushing her with ghouls and cacodaemons-to stop her. With only a persistent private eye and a taciturn vampire (one of the Immaculate, no less) to help her, Yasmin must deal with fanatical necromancers, crazed ghosts, and a sexy history teacher in her quest to solve the mystery. And along the way she uncovers some heartbreaking truths about her own existence.
What I like about it: Props for creativity.
(I’m feeling a bit under the weather so let’s start with a bang).
Yasmin was a strong protagonist who has a very high moral ground. She prides herself on never hurting or killing humans so she looks down upon those paranormal beings who need humans to survive. She is a wraith; she needs to feed on souls in order to live and she only takes the soul of vampires. Yasmin is hard on her roommate, Emma, who is a succubus. Emma wants to feed on who humans who unfortunately end up dead or in a coma. That’s a huge “No-no” for Yasmin. Yasmin and Emma have a tense friendship but they are good friends. It is my first time reading about wraiths (other than the ones mentioned in Stargate: Atlantis which do feed on humans) so I can’t complain about the wraith mythology. Clark revealed some interesting tidbits about the true origin of wraiths so I’m looking forward to reading about it in the next book.
Secondary characters are interesting as well. Private Investigator Ethan Banning is investigating the murders of children in Shoregrave and Lost Anchorage. He may be freaked out by the Pale World and its paranormal inhabitants but he is enjoying the ride. Nicomedes the Lich Lord and overlord of Shoregrave was insane but intriguing. He is pinning after his lost love while slowly losing touch with reality. Plus, he stitched his eyes together. Creepy. Vampire Durante is a constant source of irritation to Yasmin because she needs him but doesn’t like what he is. It’s a interesting relationship but it should become even more so because Clark keeps hinting that they have a past together that Yasmin cannot remember.
Plot-wise, the story moved at a good pace. There are enough interactions between different paranormal creatures while the murder case is moving forward. The murder case and the Golden Ghost are fascinating because there is so much more going on than what is on the surface. There really isn’t a major plot hole in the story overall. It is solid.
One of the things that I liked about this novel was the origin story of the vampire. In Clark’s world, vampires are created when the soul of the deceased return to possess their own body. It looks like they still required another vampire to exchange blood with but the soul is returned back to its body. It solves the dilemma of wondering whether a vampire has a soul or not. The vampire with a soul and vampires are a great source of philosophical inquires and emotional turmoil for Yasmin.
A thing that left me off-balance was the location. I don’t know if the world of Afterlife takes place on our world (Earth) or if it is a secondary world. I think it takes place on our world because it is modern. It left me unbalanced since there are no recognizable cities or monuments. It is obvious that humans don’t know about the Pale World though. I wish there was something more to anchored the reader.
Overall, it was just a solid story with a murder case at the heart of the Pale World.
64th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, First in a Series, Ghostly