RELEASE DATE: 10th July 2012
FORMAT: Paperback, 294 pages
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Welcome to Soul Beach. People are dying to get here… Alice Forster talks to her dead sister, Meggie, in the virtual world of Soul Beach – an online paradise for the young, the beautiful and the dead – but paradise can be stifling and the Beach’s guests want to move on.
If Alice can solve the mystery of her sister’s murder then Meggie will be free. But passions are running high, the temperature’s rising and as Alice gets closer to finding the killer, the killer is getting closer to Alice… (Goodreads)
*This review may contain spoilers for Soul Beach*
SOUL FIRE by Kate Harrison directly follows on from Soul Beach, with Alice Forster still frantically hunting for her sister’s killer.
Alice is still accessing Soul Beach as much as ever, but the book opens with a shocking new addition to the beach, as a new Guest arrives. This new Guest is Megan’s boyfriend, Tim, the prime suspect for her murder. He was found asphyxiated with a plastic bag over his face, which the police are ruling as suicide but which Alice thinks was murder.
Meggie is now happier on the beach with Tim by her side, but the other residents are now seeking Alice’s help to free them from this limbo, as she has gained a reputation on the beach. In particular she focuses on freeing Javier’s soul in this book, who originates from Barcelona and died by falling off of a roof. But if his death is as simple as suicide, why is he on the beach? Did he fall, or was he pushed?
Elsewhere in her real life, Alice still suspects her sister’s university friends, Adrian and Sahara, as well as Zoe, the roommate that found Megan’s body. She is still relying on Lewis’ help to track down leads, and needs him a lot more when she is warned about a new website called Burning Truths. This website is campaigning for Tim’s innocence via a series of very angry blog posts, as well as some disturbing images. Alice enlists Lewis’ help to try and track down the creator of this website, sure that they could help in her investigation.
Their search for Burning Truths, as well as Alice’s desire to free Javier’s soul, leads to Alice and her best friend Cara joining Adrian and Sahara on a holiday to Barcelona, where the action starts getting a lot hotter under the collar, but Alice is unable to access Soul Beach during her time there. As a result she isn’t able to talk to her love, Danny, so their relationship doesn’t undergo much development in this book, nor do we find out more about how Danny died.
Alice’s character was more developed in this book, as she begins to struggle even more with balancing her life on Soul Beach with her real life. However, this book is based more around her real life, as there are very few scenes that take place on the beach. I was a little disappointed by this, as the first book had introduced us to such a vivid world that it was odd to return to Alice’s real life.
Wherever I go – even the bloody Marks and Spencer café – my baggage comes with me: letters from Guests on the beach, the mystery behind Burning Truths, my list of murder suspects, Javier’s story.
These days, I am ten per cent Alice Forster. And ninety per cent secrets.
I did really enjoy how much the mystery was starting to build up in this book, as we find out a bit more about each suspect, and Alice starts forming more of her own theories about what could have happened to both Meggie and Tim. I was a little let down by how this book seemed more teenage than the first book, as Alice’s friend Cara sets her sights on Adrian despite the fact he’s with Sahara, with this subplot getting repeated mentions.
Overall I still loved the world of Soul Beach, and am even more determined to find out who the killer really is, as I’m having my doubts about all of the characters and it’s too hard to determine who is guilty and who isn’t. I still had the same problem I had with the first book, if not more so in this one, that it isn’t clear how Alice can feel and kiss Danny via a computer screen and actually feel his warmth or his touch. I still feel that this is only a minor issue, as the short chapters help to really draw you into the book and it becomes a real page turner.
I still love this series, and I really can’t wait to delve into the third and final book, as I’m desperate to find out who the murderer is. I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first one, as Alice didn’t seem to access Soul Beach as much and some of the action seemed distinctly YA. However, this was still the kind of book that I just couldn’t put down.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1. Soul Beach
2. Soul Fire
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