30 September, 2011

Book Review: Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Published: August 2011, SCHOLASTIC

Series: none
Source: Around the World Tours, no other compensation given for an honest review.

From Good Reads:
...Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won't run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. . . .

Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York's hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy -- one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York's haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous -- and deadly -- is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery -- and find redemption.

My Review:
DARK SOULS is a very atmospheric book that incorporates much of the history of York between its pages. Not your typical ghost story, it drew me into the life of Miranda Tennant and her family. While DARK SOULS is in a contemporary setting, it has a bit of a historical feel. Perhaps because the basis of the plot deals with Miranda, a person who can see ghosts, now living in what's reputed to be one of most haunted cities in the world. Perhaps because ghost stories necessarily have to harken back to the past. Either way, the plot was entrancing. As a self-professed anglophile, it was also in a setting that piqued my interest.

However, I found that several things drew me out of the story and had me shaking my head in exasperation. Without giving spoilers, it's hard to adequately express why I felt this way, but there was one occasion when Miranda's ability was clearly at play, and she herself knowing that she had this ability, reacted in a ridiculous way around her family.

There was also some dialog where Miranda was either exaggerating for effect or humor, or the author hadn't done research that would have shown up in 2 minutes on Google. Because I couldn't figure out which it was, and because I had to even make the consideration, I was utterly pulled out of the book.

Ultimately the plot, the reactions of most of the characters, and their motivations were fairly predictable for me. While this won't always make me dislike a book (I have a knack of predictions that most people wouldn't see or seem too outlandish to occur), there needs to be something there to keep me reading the book. With DARK SOULS, it was the descriptions of present York, the history described, and the over all idea of a “ghost-whisperer” being amongst so many ghosts.

I'll be honest, I wasn't bowled over by this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes a ghost story, mixed with history and mystery.

3.5/5 for plot
3/5 for characters
3/5 for language

My Rating: 9.5/15 (2.5 stars)

Worth Trying, if you liked:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Find the author at:
Website | Blog | GoodReads

Purchase book at:
Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Available formats: NookBook, Paperback (trade), Kindle

Challenge Participation:

Tour Participation:

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering about this book. The premise sounds interesting but it's a shame that the character's dialogue and reactions weren't up to par. That's a book pet-peeve of mine!

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