Two innocent people must be brought from another world.
One will bring the rebellion the way to succeed;
the other will be their destruction...
Book Links: Goodreads
* I'm not sure I've ever made a note like this, but due to this review being published before this novel's official release date, I feel the need to: I was gifted this book, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
The Lost Soul is a book I've been waiting for. I've needed a straight-up fantasy for a long time, and while A Song of Ice and Fire screams at me from my shelves, I just haven't the courage and stamina to return to that wonderful - yet lengthy - series. Thankfully, Ms Marsden has given me an alternative.
A fantastic alternative.
One of the things I love from the author's other series, The Witch-Hunter Trilogy, and I'll shamelessly leave a link to my spoiler-free review of the first book here, is perfectly carried over into this beginning entry to another wondrous world. That thing, is the story's mythology. Everyone loves a world with rich and fantastical histories and lore, and The Lost Soul offers that to you on a golden plate.
Along with a wealth of colourful and diverse characters that you come to feel so much for. Hell, at the time of this review, the book isn't even out yet and I want - need - the next one...
SPOILER WARNING (I don't think there are drastic spoilers, but there will no doubt be some tidbits.)
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
Samantha Garrett hardly expects anything crazy to happen on her way home from school, but when she witnesses a boy she knows being kidnapped, she ends up falling through a portal to another world.
And straight into the evil hands of King Hrafn, a ruthless tyrant.
A rebellion is stirring within Enchena.
A rebellion that the two new strangers will decide.
One can lead them to victory; one to destruction...
Plot - 4.5/5 Stars
The Lost Soul wastes no time in diving right into the meat of the story, and this is a quality I always love in a book. Initially, however, things do move a little too fast, with a subtle disconnect between scenes and character choices. But once the story hits its stride, everything falls together. The isolation, tension, suspense etc. are all handled perfectly to capture the reader's attention. You're dragged into the world of Enchena, and I'm sorry - not really - to inform you, you're not likely to want to leave.
The big thing about this novel is the world. There's a wealth of information and history that's a joy to indulge in. There's never too much as things unravel and the reader comes to learn more, and the nifty structure keeps this exposition balanced with epic battles, both small and large, and some beautiful, visual scenery that highlights the adventurous elements of the characters' journeys.
The book also, in my opinion, gets much better during its latter half, as the story, characters and writing find their fantasy feet. The last third is especially terrific, with adrenaline-pumping moments of pure suspense.
The magic of this series is already quite palpable.
Ms Marsden, give me more!
Pace - 4.5/5 Stars
Apart from that one irk regarding the lightning-quick start, The Lost Soul has a steady flow. With the addictive mythology and the veritable treasure trove that is the cast, everything moves firmly from point A to B.
Characters - 5/5 Stars
Ready for a little, itsy bitsy spoiler? If not look away...
Unicorns! Dragons! Mallus!
We get them all! And, if you're not sure about that last one, get the book!
The diverse and unique collection of characters raises this novel to profound heights. Our main, Samantha, is great. A little conflicting to start with in terms of characteristics: She's shy, but easily angered; she's impulsive, but massively inquisitive. Surprisingly, these traits work and mesh well. Her journey from naive 'Sammy' to brave and kickass 'Lady Samantha' is a definite highlight.
I also love David's complete opposite trajectory. He's absolutely her nemesis, and I adore a good nemesis. Other characters, such as Alina, Siabhor, Autumn, Tobias... Trust me, Ms Marsden has a tantalising cast ready, willing and able to latch onto you. They're engaging, warm individuals that have specific identities and goals.
Ugh, while I'm desperate for more additions to the series, I'm terrified with, you know, all the war going on that one of my lovely characters is gonna die...
Don't do it, Kelly!
Writing - 4.5/5 Stars
The pace and writing parts of my reviews are always so bloody small. Most of the time I have no real idea of what to say. Yeah, I wing it, sue me. I don't know why this is though. I guess I focus a lot more on the story and characters.
Anyway, back on point, The Lost Soul, at least the version I have, is not a final edit. Not that that really matters, because the quality is awesome. A few mistakes here and there, but Ms Marsden is adept at rooting out trivialities. There are a few cheesy moments, mostly restricted to the start and dialogue.
Overall - 4.5/5 Stars
Looking for a fantasy epic that's easy to read and full of wonder?
Then trust me, get over to Amazon and pre-order (or buy if the book's released) The Lost Soul. Here, I'll even give you a link. You can check out other reviews as they come over on Goodreads, and if you enjoy Ms Marsden's work, follow her on Twitter.
Next Instalment: The Oracle
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