Monday, 21 May 2012

Soul Beach By Kate Harrison

Soul Beach
Series: Soul Beach #1
Release Date: 1st September 2011
Publisher: Indigo
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256

Synopsis: When Alice Forster receives an email from her dead sister she assumes it must be a sick practical joke. Then an invitation arrives to the virtual world of Soul Beach, an idyllic online paradise of sun, sea and sand where Alice can finally talk to her sister again - and discover a new world of friendships, secrets and maybe even love . . . . But why is Soul Beach only inhabited by the young, the beautiful and the dead? Who really murdered Megan Forster? And could Alice be next? The first book in an intriguing and compelling trilogy centred around the mystery of Megan Forster's death.

Review: The concept for Soul Beach was very intriguing and rather unique. Just the synopsis alone dragged me in, leaving me wanting more. The book doesn’t disappoint either, from the start you’re pulled into Alice's story and follow her on a rollercoaster of emotions. Soul Beach is book 1 in a new trilogy by Kate Harrison and I can't wait to read the next book when it's out later this year.

We join Alice on the day of her sister's funeral when she receives an email from her dead sister. Thinking it's a sick joke she ignores it, but the sender is persistent inviting her to join the online world of Soul Beach. Alice tries to ignore them but if her sister is trying to contact her what could possibly go wrong. Joining Soul Beach Alice finds that many people who have died inhabit this place or limbo. She soon finds her sister who tells her that paradise isn't as brilliant as it seems. Alice is drawn to this new world and prefers it to her own where she's being swallowed by her grief. There's only one question on her mind though, and that is who killed her sister?

Alice was a character who was struggling to cope with her own grief. She tries to put on a brave face but there's only so much happiness you can fake. My heart went out to her throughout the whole book especially when her grief began taking its toll on her life, pulling her away from her friends and family. She began to shrink into herself and alienate herself from the world, but the grief told her this was an ok thing to do. All her free time she spent talking to her sister, Meggie on Soul Beach which becomes a second home to her. Paradise on Soul Beach is Alice's only escape, it allows her to speak to her lost sister and become closer to her than ever before. Alice's character was well written you followed her journey as if you were in the passenger seat. When she went to soul beach it felt like you were there too. The story telling and writing was top notch in this book.

The secondary characters were good. Meggie and Alice's relationship was believable there were the good parts and the bad parts just like a normal relationship. Meggie was a well-rounded character she was the shooting star, if she had lived she would have been famous but her time was cut short. Now she sees that paradise, isn't as great as it looks, there are always consequences. Danny was awesome from the beginning, star-crossed lovers is all I can say so I don't ruin things. Lewis was a nerd who helped Alice out when looking for clues; he was a great character who showed that nerds do in fact rule the earth.

Despite the uniqueness of this book and awesome characters a few things bugged me. The first is the whole social network site for contacting the dead thing. Alas I do believe there's life after death but through a social network, no way. It's just totally unbelievable. Oh and the whole Soul Beach thing Alice experienced through her laptop so how did she feel the heat and sand in her toes. One moment it seemed like she was there in the beach talking to her sister the next she's wearing headphones and whispering though the speakers. Hmm, something doesn't quite add up there, surely her parents would have noticed her talking to herself. Oh and time flies by without her noticing when she's at soul beach even though she's sitting at her laptop. And how she can always hear the waves from the beach even when she's at school? Another thing was the plot seemed to shift near the end of the book. It began as trying to find Meggies murderer then shifted to solving a whole secondary characters death. It just changed too drastically for me.

Nevertheless I enjoyed Soul Beach. It was a nice easy read. The writing is great and the characters are very emotionally strong. I will only give this 4 stars because of the above paragraph. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series to see what happens next.

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