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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Soulstice Leaves Me Hungry For More

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: Although this review will not contain any spoilers for Soulstice, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from The Devouring. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Six months have passed since Sorry Night, the fateful evening when 15-year-old Reggie Holloway unknowingly released an ancient evil into her small town. It's been six months since she wrestled the Vours for her younger brother's soul. Six months since the town golden boy disappeared. Six months of heart-slamming nightmares stealing her sleep. Just because she hasn't seen another Vour since the night she ran the creatures out of town doesn't mean they're not out there, waiting. With the summer solstice right around the corner, Reggie knows she needs to be on her guard.

When Quinn Waters suddenly appears in her bedroom, Reggie knows it's all starting again. Just six months ago, his presence in her house would have been the fulfillment of every dream she'd ever had. Now, it's the stuff of her worst nightmares. He's still undeniably good-looking, for a Vour, but she knows just how dangerous he can be. She's already killed him once, she's not sure she can do it again. So, when he offers her a truce - of sorts - she finds herself reluctantly accepting it. Even if he's on the run from his Vour pals, he's still privy to the kind of information she needs to rid the world of the monsters forever. Trusting Quinn could be fatal, but what choice does she have?

As the solstice nears, Reggie and her best friend, Aaron, work feverishly to uncover the secrets needed to vanquish the Vours. The closer they come, the more perilous the search becomes. Both of them are seeing terrifying visions, Reggie's brother seems to be slipping again, and the police are questioning them about their part in Quinn's (so-called) death. The scant information Reggie and Aaron are managing to glean about the Vours only makes them more anxious - Can a couple of teenagers really take on an evil that's been around forever? Are their souls already compromised? Is there anyone they can trust, or have the Vours already spread their vile touch to everyone Reggie and Aaron know and love? The summer solstice is close at hand - will they, too, be devoured?

After the edge-of-your-seat creepfest that was Simon Holt's The Devouring, I expected the same kind of intensity from Soulstice, the next book in the series. The novel definitely starts with a bang, but it drags a little as Reggie and Aaron spend most of their time investigating the Vours. We learn a lot about the creatures, yet we don't see all that much of them. There's still plenty going on in Soulstice - it's just more informational, less sinister than the first book. At times, it feels like a filler book, a way to get some data out without really furthering the plot much. The cliffhanger ending changes things, though. I'm so hungry to know what happens next that I'm practically foaming at the mouth. Whoever's got Fearscape, the conclusion of the series, checked out from my library, better read fast or I may not be able to control myself. Just sayin'.

(Readalikes: The Devouring and Fearscape by Simon Holt)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for language (a couple F-bombs plus milder invectives), violence and gore

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

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