Author: Alyson Noel
Format: eARC (to be published in paperback, $7.99)
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?
This is the first book I read on my new Nook.
The Riley Bloom series is one of my favorites out there, not because it's amazing or written well, but because it's such a good escape. Riley is spunky and totally out-there, and it makes for a really fun reading experience. Whisper is the fourth in the series about Riley Bloom, a twelve-year-old girl who complains a lot about her "semi-stubby nose" (her words, not mine) and her flat chest. In Whisper, Riley is given a difficult Soul Catch: a Roman warrior named Theocoles. During her trip to try to cross Theocoles over, she's introduced to Messalina, a girl just like her, the only girl in the entire place. Riley and Messalina become instant friends, and Messalina decides to give Riley the ultimate makeover.
Whisper would've been the conclusion to the series had Noel not added two more, and it shows, with the end as grand as it was. Whisper deals with some concepts such as growing up, finding love, and staying true to your heart. The word "whisper" rings true to the book, which you'll see come about page 150 or so. In Whisper, Riley finds a friend, something she hasn't had in a while (well, besides Bodhi), and it's nice to see her happy. She also gets the opportunity to turn thirteen, which she's wanted for as long as she can remember so she could be just like her older sister, Ever (who the Evermore books are written about). In the beginning of Radiance, she went off on a tangent about how much she wanted to be thirteen and how much she hated how she died at the age of twelve, and only a few weeks shy of thirteen. For some reason, she has this grand idea that once she turns thirteen, she's going to completely mature and life will be perfect.
Noel has this way of writing where a scene can be really super long but not feel like it, and it's wonderful. With as much plot as the books actually have, this book could've been only about one hundred pages, but it doesn't feel slow. I love it, and you can see the same thing happening in her Immortals series, which lots of readers complain had been dragged out for too long.
Whisper is, dare I say, the best Riley Bloom book to date, and it shows!
Four and a Half Owls