Our return to the world of misplaced souls is accomplished with an introduction to Jix, a skinjacker who prefers animal hosts over humans. He is on a mission to find Mary, the fabled Eastern Witch. All of our friends and acquaintances from Everlost are continuing their journeys, after having either been separated or brought into new alliances via the events of Everwild. Besides Jix, there are plenty of other new characters that play roles in wrapping up Neal Shusterman’s trilogy of youthful life after death.
The action is steadily moving westward across the United States, and as certain afterlights spend more time with each other, inevitable conflicts arise that develop into full blown subplots. In fact, there are a lot of subplots for the reader to keep track of, and the slow, steady gathering of everyone to a specific place is fraught with suspense, humor and a few (almost) shocking surprises. Once everyone is in the right place, however, the climax is very exciting and leads to a completely and totally unpredictable ending to the story.
As with Book 2, some dark themes are explored here, but this time there is some minimal religious discussion among the characters, which has surprisingly not occurred until this installment. With the new characters come new relationships that are different than those in the previous two books, and it is very refreshing to see individual development in a number of the key players as the story moves along.
This project represents some very fine work by the author. Overall, the story is imaginative, detailed and there are plenty of thought-provoking themes for adults as well as young adults.
Rating: Mild. There are a few occurrences of mild language, but some of the cruel and malicious actions of various characters are a little harrowing. This is definitely a moderate for younger readers (pre-teens).