Afterlife, the second in a proposed trilogy of books from Duncan Ralston featuring Ghostland, a theme park where the attractions are real-life ghosts, picks up six months after the events of the first book.
The town of Duck Falls is famous for all the wrong reasons. The Ghostland disaster has attracted unwanted media attention, due in part to the ‘Ghosts are People Too’ activists who have set up shop in town.
Ben and Lillian are convinced that a war is coming between people and ghosts, led by the sinister Rex Garrotte. Unsure who to trust, and burdened by a responsibility they did not want, they must prepare for the apocalypse which only they know is on its way.
The initial book in the trilogy had a fairly satisfying ending and I was surprised but pleased to note that Ghostland was now due to become a trilogy. While I had issues with the first book (which I noted in my review for the prequel short story “The Moving House“) I absolutely love the concept, a mash-up of Jurassic Park meets Thir13en Ghosts, and was more than willing to give the series another shot. It’s not a decision to take lightly, with this sequel topping a daunting 500-page count, but it was one I was ultimately glad I made.
I should start by saying that I felt this was a vastly superior book to Ghostland. If you read and loved book one, you will no doubt enjoy this one too. If, like me, you were on the fence about continuing, then rest assured that it will be time well spent. Any issues I had with Ghostland have been course-corrected here and it makes for an incredibly engrossing read, far bigger in scale than what came before it.
The main characters of Ben and Lillian get far less page time here but feel like much more complex and well-rounded characters. Their supporting cast is equally strong and the villain, in particular, is made far more interesting than his previous incarnation. There are a lot more characters at play in Afterlife, all with separate stories with satisfying character arcs that make me excited to see what role they will play in the final book.
The story itself is far more complex than Ghostland, which followed a fairly straightforward and linear narrative. Ralston is absolutely meticulous in the way he slowly drip-feeds plot developments, new characters and revelations to gently shift the story forward in interesting and unexpected ways. It reads like a much more polished, and well thought out book. While nowhere near as action-packed as Ghostland, Afterlife more than makes up for that with a strong story and supporting cast, expertly delivered for a tense and unpredictable book.
Superior in almost every way, Afterlife is a very different book that has taken the trilogy in an exciting new direction. While I was initially unsure whether to carry on with the series, Afterlife has left me impatient for what comes next. Bring on book 3!
Afterlife: Ghostland 2.0 by Duncan Ralston (Ghostland Trilogy Book 2)
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Book 2 in the Ghostland Trilogy, AFTERLIFE is a novel of pre-apocalyptic sci-fi horror, perfect for fans of Stephen King and Blake Crouch.
Sinister forces gather in Duck Falls. Soon, this small American town will become a battleground for the future of humanity.Six months after the “Ghostland Disaster,” Duck Falls has become a reluctant tourist trap, and a new home to the activist group Ghosts Are People Too. When the Return to Ghostland televised event ends in yet another tragedy, ghosts once again fall under scrutiny… along with the effectiveness of the Recurrence Field. Away at college, survivor Lilian Roth has discovered she’s able to communicate with spirits. She and her best friend, Ben Laramie, use the skills they’ve acquired to free ghosts from their hauntings. But Rex Garrote, the mastermind behind the Ghostland Disaster, is raising an army of ghosts to slaughter every living person on Earth. Left with no choice but to fight, Ben and Lilian must recruit their own army of freed ghosts, and prepare them for war. Will it be enough to save the world? Book 2 in the Ghostland Trilogy, AFTERLIFE is a novel of pre-apocalyptic sci-fi horror, perfect for fans of Stephen King and Blake Crouch.