Thereafter by Terri Bruce is the sequel to Hereafter, a paranormal fantasy novel that I reviewed a couple of years ago and enjoyed. (If you haven’t read Hereafter yet, it’s probably a bargain e-book right now wherever you buy your e-books, so go ahead and grab a copy if Thereafter sounds good to you, because you’ll want to read it first. And enter my giveaway on the Giveaways page here!)
Irene Dunphy was a 36-year-old party girl when she died in a car crash after a night of drinking, and she didn’t change much in the afterlife, as chronicled in Hereafter. She did meet Jonah – a solitary 14-year-old who could see dead people – and, under his influence, Irene began to exercise her conscience and allow herself to be governed occasionally by reason (instead of passion fueled by swigs of vodka.)
Thereafter picks up where Hereafter left off, and sadly, Irene is sans Jonah for most of the book. She misses him terribly, and so did I. Irene picks up some new companions on this portion of her journey through the afterlife, and has some lively conversations with them, as well as trading off with them in saving each other’s “lives”, but her up-and-down relationships with knight Andras and cowboy Ian do not connect them as deeply as the platonic friendship she had with Jonah. These other guys who are dead but haven’t “crossed over” are not as interesting or as special to Irene as Jonah.
In Hereafter, Irene was ostensibly the grown-up, but Jonah was the mature one of the pair. In Thereafter, Irene still has some growing up to do. Kind of like that long section in the Harry Potter books where Harry was off by himself (?) and not at Hogwarts with his friends and enemies. It may be necessary to have this time apart for understanding to grow and ripen, but readers don’t have to be happy about it!
Thereafter is packed with historical figures and intriguing snippets of ideas about the afterlife from various places and times. Irene is about as un-spiritual as you can get, but it would be pretty silly for her to deny that there’s an afterlife, since she’s living it. She just doesn’t know how she is supposed to be living it or what, if anything, she’s supposed to do? And the biggest question of all…Is there any way to get back to her old life on Earth?
Both books in the Afterlife series are fun reads with enough action in each book to keep you reading but also enough semi-serious speculation on different theories and philosophies about the afterlife to make you think a little, too. Readers of urban fantasy like Diana Rowland‘s books or world-building fantasy like N.K. Jemisin‘s A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms will enjoy Hereafter and Thereafter.
Terri Bruce is an honorary Massachusetts author (living just across the border) and she lives (so she says) in an authentic New England haunted house. In addition to wresting back the rights of Thereafter from a publisher that released an error-riddled edition and self-publishing it, she has a full-time job and is also head of the New England Broads chapter of Broad Universe, a group that supports women who are writing, editing, and publishing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction. She also blogs about books she reads and her own writing on her Web site, terribruce.net, and is active on Twitter and Facebook. She’s a busy woman, and a very nice person, too!
Disclosure: I received a free digital review copy of Thereafter from the author.
Visit other stops on the blog tour, for more information about Terri and the Afterlife books. The ones that came before this one are listed here. Terri has giveaways going all the time, so check out these other blogs for your chance to win!
Guest Post “Afterlife Mythology: The Five Rivers of the Afterlife”
Character Interview with Irene Dunphy
Review and Guest Post “Afterlife Mythology: Nephilim/Winged Deities of the Afterlife”
Guest Post “Top Ten Easter Eggs Hidden in Thereafter”
Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester
April 12, 2014