Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{April 20, 2012}   {ARC Review} Whisper by Alyson Noel (Riley Bloom #4)

From Goodreads: This time, Riley might really have bitten off more than she’s ready for. After practically begging the Council for a more challenging Soul Catch, she is assigned an actual Roman gladiator—Theocoles, the Pillar of Doom. How is Riley, a skinny twelve-year-old, supposed to get through to him? Then she meets the beautiful Messalina, who convinces her that her only chance is to become part of this world. To accomplish this, Messalina helps Riley through a dramatic, mystical makeover, transforming her into the beautiful and mature teen she’s always wanted to be. Finally, Riley can experience her first boyfriend and her first kiss. With a dream this enchanting, will she ever want to leave?


I liked this novel, especially as Riley actually learns from her mistakes this time.  Riley tends to have a chip on her shoulder and an extremely low self-esteem, but refuses to listen to anyone around her when they try to help.  This time, she learns to trust others and actually listen to them, and I liked that she grew up a little—her bratty attitude is toned down a lot in the novel, which was a major plus, making me enjoy her character a whole lot more than in previous novels.

I really enjoyed the history Noel incorporated into her novel as well.  I haven’t read any YA novels that deal with Roman gladiators before now, and it was a really fascinating topic.  Though Riley must navigate the perils of the ghost realm and convince Theocoles to leave behind his earthly domain, the story has a very romantic feel to it, delving deep into Roman culture, and Riley even gets to participate in it.  I was happy that Riley also got to experience her teenage years, no matter how brief or under what circumstances.  Even though the world around Riley is fake, and she’s unable to remember her purpose, I really loved getting to see her as a teenager, and so did she.  Three stars. 

MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on April 24th.


Patricia says:

Oh, I wonder if I should read this one. The “she learns from her mistakes this time” though.. I like character-development, but I’m not sure if I want to start a series when I already know that the protagonist is one stubborn person. *g*

Great review!

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