****Full Disclosure: Like many of the books I review, I was very generously given a copy of this book in return for an honest interview. The generosity of the author/publisher does not affect my review*****
Witches. Vampires. Angels of Death. These are just a few of the characters/paranormal creatures you’ll be treated to in The Soul Thief, which will make it a favourite for paranormal lovers.
In The Soul Thief, Riley gets into a horrific car crash. During the car crash, she sees a girl steal a young boy’s soul. Naturally, she thinks that she’s hallucinating, or it’s all a dream, but then she later encounters the same girl at the hospital who informs her that she is a Halfling angel of death. Afterwards, Riley tries to come to terms with her new identity (and the fact that her father isn’t actually her biological father) all while going through intense training with Leander, a handsome angel of death who has already lived for centuries. Her training also means lying regularly to her parents and friends. However, Riley soon has even more to worry about when teenage girls who are around Riley’s age start to die under mysterious circumstances, and Riley has to figure out why.
Majanka Verstraete certainly is a whiz at starting things off running. The novel opens to Riley’s car accident, a powerful and intriguing scene that had me immediately captivated. The rest of the book continues much in this manner, moving from event to event, and not lingering in any one place for too long. For my personal taste, although I appreciate movement, I also enjoy having time to develop both main and secondary characters as well as develop the protagonist’s stasis. In particular, I would have loved a bit more build up between Riley’s accident and her learning that she is an angel of death, which would have given me a chance to feel out her personal and family life, and maybe get more acquainted with Riley as a character. However, if you like your books to move at a speedy, breathless pace, with every scene mattering a great deal to the plot, then you will find that this novel does that, in effortless style.
As far as characters go, I enjoyed Riley. She’s a very conscientious character, yet she has a wicked sense of quirky humour that keeps things from getting too serious. Leander at times veers toward getting a little too “pretty-boy,” but he matches Riley’s sense of humour and contentiousness with his own, which allows him to still be engaging. Secondary characters felt a bit thin at times, but this also kept the plot focalized on Riley and her strength as a character.
Plot-wise, this is a paranormal-lover’s dream. Verstraete crafts an engaging and thought-out paranormal world, with no noticeable cracks. In addition to the angels, we also encounter other paranormal figures, such as witches, casters, and vampires, which is sure to make any paranormal fan happy.
Ultimately, The Soul Thief is a promising beginning to a series. While readers who prefer lots of character development may feel a little overwhelmed by the speedy pace, paranormal fans who love a plot-driven novel with lots of supernatural goodies will love it.