Like its heroine, this series conclusion never quite comes to life.
Back in Oklahoma from New Orleans, Amelia retains partial corporeality; she can eat and manipulate objects, but she can’t make physical contact with the living—even romantic interest Joshua Mayhew. His sister, Jillian, wheedles Amelia into attending a party crashed by evil Kade and his dead cohorts, who announce they’ll kill one person a week until Amelia joins them in their grim afterworld. A failed plan to blow up the bridge that serves as gateway between worlds prompts the evil ones to speed up their timeline. Beyond vague biblical allusions, what motivates the nonliving, good or evil, remains unclear; the quasi-religious worldbuilding doesn’t reference or build on familiar myths or paradigms that resonate with readers. As the title suggests, the pace is funereal, and pausing to take in mundane events like prom squanders needed momentum. The issue of whether Amelia and Josh will finally “do it” aims to build suspense but seems borrowed from a story with lower stakes. Scenes in the evil afterworld and its gateway bring the novel to intermittent, imaginative life, but it’s not enough to keep readers’ attention.
The thin plot spreads itself across nearly 400 pages, and characters spend more time discussing what to do than actually doing it: a miss. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)