An accident it begins; a tragedy it ends.
The blood will thicken, consume the host and leave it thirsty.
To stop the blood's rampage, the young must journey to the heart of shadows, where feathers will destroy the wild...
Book Links: Goodreads
A little note before we get started: According to the author's website, Soren is a watered-down version of her soon-to-be published novel The Shield of Soren. That book, however, is part of series while Soren itself is a standalone aimed at a younger audience.
Diving straight into the meat of my overall review, Soren is a fun fantasy story that engages, thrills and makes for smooth reading. It might be a pinch iffy for adults, due to its relative simplicity, but for its intended audience it's an absolute diamond.
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
The kingdom of Alcherys is at war.
The malevolent Meraxor and their leader Vincent Wilder intend to burn Alcherys to the ground.
Ten-year-old Prince Soren, however, is more interested in causing trouble with his fox cub Dash than the impending doom.
When a manipulated adventure ends in a deadly virus being released, Soren's fate is tied to a dark prophecy.
One that could end Alcherys from the inside...
Plot - 4/5 Stars
If you're ever in the mood for a novel that you just need to relax with, Soren is the one. While it might be aimed at the younger generations, its light and airy feel mixes phenomenally with the fantasy story it contains. Cain does the right thing by keeping things simple and concise, offering the reader an adventure with nice surprises than a slow-burning epic.
There's action, intrigue, magic; everything your little heart could want. While at times the plot falls foul to some handy coincidences that steal some immediacy, there are some awesome scenes full of wonder.
The only glaring mistake I found is that, one of the characters, Kyri, goes from being unconscious to conscious then back again in a handful of seconds.
Reaching a crescendo with the end, Cain flaunts her magical world while also wrapping up the threads of the story.
Pace - 5/5 Stars
The length, for a fantasy, isn't imposing, so don't worry about spending too much time on it. Cain marches along with gusto, keeping you on your toes and tantalised throughout.
Characters - 3.5/5 Stars
The cast is varied, with each character being wholly defined by a single, relatable trait. This is both a pro and a con: A pro, in the sense that there isn't tons of character development to bog down the plot; and a con, because the length restricts the protagonists from being completely built.
Soren, our main guy, is brave but brash. The enigma that surrounds him and his destiny does an admirable job of keeping the reader invested, and his little friend, the fox cub Dash, is an adorable addition that will melt your heart and force him to fan-favourite status.
The rest of the cast fill out nicely, adequately inhabiting their roles.
Writing - 4.5/5 Stars
Cain works magic with the feel of the writing. Despite some hesitance from adults, the novel doesn't sound like a whinny kid's adventure. Dialogue is stable and scenes are set with just enough detail. Soren is fun and feel-good, and the author has imbued each page with both those traits.
Overall - 4/5 Stars
Dismissing my adult criticism, Soren is perfect for younger readers, whether they be avid ones or ones that don't read at all (this novel could get them started).
For more D.M. Cain reviews: Index
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