Her goth boyfriend, Varen Nethers, disappeared into the sinister, Poe-inflected dream world in Nevermore (2010), and now it's up to cheerleader Isobel Lanley to find him again.
The key to rescuing Varen revolves around the mysterious “Poe Toaster,” a figure who visits Poe's Baltimore gravesite each year on the author's birthday. Isobel contrives to get to Baltimore on the fateful date but doesn't make much of a plan; most of the action leading up to Isobel's rendezvous with the Toaster involves her encountering frightening fragments of the dream world and hiding those encounters from family, teachers and even her sarcastic sidekick, Gwen. Readers who have forgotten the events of Nevermore are caught up slowly as the plot of this sequel unfolds; readers are reminded of Varen immediately, but the intricacies of the demonlike Nocs and the mechanics of dreams and waking are left somewhat unspecified. The prose is long-winded, moody and filled with awkward figures of speech (“Like flint striking in the dark, Gwen's words snatched Isobel's attention”). Dreams, chase scenes and confrontations blur into one another and become repetitive. Several dream scenes rely on characters falling asleep at unlikely moments (in a cold catacomb, waiting for the story's climax, for example), and the ending brings little in the way of resolution.
Tedious; only for readers who can't get enough of Varen, Isobel and Poe. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)