Book Review: Radiance (Radiance #1) by Alyson Noel

Riley Bloom has left her sister and crossed the bridge into the afterlife---a place called Here, where time is always Now.  She has picked up where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood.  When she's summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure.  She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who's definitely hiding something.  They return to earth together for Riley's first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centuries.  Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed.  But all of that was before he met Riley...

Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher:  Square Fish
Age Group:  Middle-Grade (ages 9-12)
Pages: 192
Okay, so I didn't realize that this was a middle-grade (a term that is new to me) book.  The Immortals series is YA and I mistakenly assumed this series, featuring Ever Bloom's twelve year old little sister, Riley would be on the same level.  Radiance is definitely more of a children's book; however, it was still enjoyable for me. 

I am a huge fan of Alyson Noel's Immortals series and I've been looking forward to Radiance ever since I found out Riley was getting her own series.  You don't have to read the Immortals series (Evermore, Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame) first to enjoy Radiance, but I would recommend it.

Radiance is a sweet story, a perfect summer read.  The parts about flying were my favorite, especially Buttercup (Riley's yellow Lab).  Riley is snarky and confident, Bodhi is interesting and their job as Soul Catchers is intriguing.  Like the Immortals series, Noel's world building is superb.  Radiance was the perfect book to tide me over until the next Immortals book comes out.  As far as middle-grade (what I've previously called  chidren's ) books go, it's one of the best I've read.      

Just One Gripe: 
It was way too short!  I feel like the story had just taken off, and it was over.  I finished it in only an hour and twenty minutes.  I need more!

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The imagery---Noel's descriptions of Summerland and Here are outstanding.  The originality is another bonus---the book's premise is very unique.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 

As this is a middle-grade book, I am scoring it against other middle-grade books.  A five star middle-grade book is not equivalent to a five star adult book, in my opinion. 

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Total Score:  23/25

Radiance was a 3 star book for me personally, but I am rating it against other middle-grade literature and it deserves 4.5 stars for that genre.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an impartial review.


  1. I love her. Everything she writes is so entertaining and beautiful.

    Good review. I've never read it but I love Dark Flame. Maybe I will check it out...

  2. I can't wait to read this one, I should have it in a week or so! I was aware this was a MG novel, but that's a good thing to let others know, who like you, expected a YA book.

  3. I'm from the CEP

    I can hardly wait to read this one! I loved Riley's character, and I was happy to see that she gets her own book. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Hi there! I am here from the CEP =)
    How I love, love, love the sound of this book. This is the first review I read on it and I've to say that I've fallen in love! I too would wish that the book is MUCH longer than that. 192 pages is certainly not enough!

  5. I really liked Evermore, so I wll probably give this one a read too. I love Noel's writing.

  6. Great review. I'm not really into middle grade fiction but this sounds pretty interesting. Although I've never read any of this authors works.

    Here via CEP

  7. Okay, this is actually at the very top of my wish list. You have no idea how much I want to read it!

    I've recently been reading the Evermore series, and this looks like such a cute spin-off, even if it is MG. Great review!

  8. I don't think I've ready anything by her...but I think my girls would love this book :)

  9. Wow I love how you setup your reviews! I didn't know this was a middle grade book. It sounds great though, and if it's one of the best MG books you've read, I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the awesome review.

    Btw here from the CEP :D

  10. I really hope this one is better that the immortal series. i stop reading the series at blue moon. i dont know when i'm going to read the rest. =(

    I'm from CEP.


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