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Eleanor T Beaty's Blog

Another special review for Souls!

published on March 1st, 2013

Tracy is great. Here’s the review posted on her site: http://tracyriva.com/souls-of-darkness-by-eleanor-t-beaty/

 

Souls of Darkness was a very different read for me. While it is YA and paranormal, both of which I’m familiar with, it featured a male protagonist, which is a first for me – at least in my memory. I have to say it was a pleasant experience and it brought to my attention how few books in the genre are written with strong, yet vulnerable male leads.

Alex’s dad has passed away and an old pamphlet shows up from a location that isn’t marked on his dad’s map of travels. His mother’s brilliant idea – visit the island themselves. Alex doesn’t want to go, so he strikes a deal with her; He’ll go if he gets to pick the location they go to next year. He plans on picking some lush tropical resort where Alex, who will be almost eighteen by that time plans to enjoy some hedonistic pleasures. Mom takes the deal and the two are off to island of Mahini in Polynesia.

Alex gets more than he bargained for however, because upon nearing the island he has a disturbing dream and once he arrives he begins seeing the spirits of the departed. Some are harmless, but others are murderous spirits stealing people’s souls so the people on Mahini are afraid to be out after dusk. But now, some of the spirits are getting braver, coming out before dark and one spirit in particular has devilish plans for Alex and his mother. He’ll use them to get something he has wanted for centuries. Will his plan work?

Alex’s character is really neat. He hates the island, which seems to be stuck somewhere in the past, and at first he doesn’t believe in what he feels are their superstitions until finally too many weird things start happening to him and he has to face the fact that maybe there is something behind all their beliefs.

Helping Alex along the way is the girl he has fallen for hard, Taiya. She is the one who explains some of the islander’s beliefs, particularly the one about being out after nightfall. As Alex begins to believe, and to need answers, she leads him to the local healer/shaman who tells Alex he has a role to play in freeing the island from its reign of terror. Alex’s decision isn’t as yes/no as you would like to think it would be upon receiving this news and it leads to some interesting plot twists that Beaty artfully foreshadows.

The characters and setting are done well, but these areas are always real strengths for Beaty. She makes characters you like and you become absorbed in their story. It makes you wonder if maybe people really do have a destiny; Have you found yours yet?

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