My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the author Amber Garr and the publisher, Hallowed Ink Press.
Soulless is a story with a whole new take on the afterlife and how souls are collected when people die. Nora is a Warden, someone who collects souls when people die and brings the deceased to their final resting place. There’s only one problem: aside from Death Wardens like Nora, there are also Soul Hunters – people who have given into darkness and aim to steal souls from the Wardens. Nora’s ex, Theron, is a former Warden who switched sides and now aids the Soul Hunters. When Nora’s charges – the people she is supposed to save – are all targets for the Soul Hunters, a true old fashioned fight between good and evil breaks loose.
I saw this book on Netgalley available for request – scrolled past it a few times, opened it in a new tab, re-read the synopsis and generally wondered whether or not I should request the book or not. I’m glad I ended up giving this book a try. Soulless brings forth a new view of the afterlife, about what happens the moment you (for example) are killed in a car crash, or perhaps even when you are murdered. Amber Garr managed to create a unique look into the world she created, and it was a fun one. Detailed descriptions of the different locations were great – detailed descriptions of the afterlife were even better. Everything sounded beautiful, warm, inviting, calm – just overall very well written.
Nora was a nice protagonist overall, though I did find some flaws in her reactions at certain points. She was strong-willed and very passionate about what she was doing, but she still remembered that she too, had had a life at one point. Despite the fact that she was a grim reaper, she still enjoyed brief moments in the moments she was on the plane of the living to collect her souls. Her defiance in dress code I found amusing throughout the entire book and I felt like it was a little remnant of the type of person she had been before she became a Warden.
I did, however, find her reactions to be over the top sometimes – especially towards the end of the book did she become very … hysterical. I felt like I read about her crying or getting teary-eyed a bit too often (and often in a short timespan) and it got on my nerves a little. Understandably, she dealt with a lot of blows and stress, but she’d sometimes seem to go from determined to incredibly sad and emotional within five seconds and it bothered me a bit.
Theron, who is essentially the main male character, I did enjoy reading about, though I would’ve loved it if he’d been a bit more evil. You know, really, downright annoyingly evil. One of those characters who seems to still have some morality in him, but shows it so rarely that you start to question yourself. I know that he switched sides and obviously started out on the good side, but I would’ve loved for him to be more taken in by the dark side, if you will. Jason was a fine character, no real faults to be found in him – perhaps a little naïve at times, but in general he remained true to himself.
The writing in the book was fine, I didn’t spot any grammar mistakes or any other errors, which is great because nothing ruins a story more than a mistake! The author had a very pleasant writing style and made it an easy read. I did feel like the story progressed a little too fast for my taste when we got to about 80% in – everything became a whirlwind of happenings and I remember that I looked at the percentage in the bottom and thinking, “How can anything big happen in the remainder of the book?”
3.5 stars for Amber Garr’s Soulless, an original take on grim reapers and the afterlife. Rating deductions for some of Nora’s behaviour, the fast progression of the plot towards the end and also because I did not really feel very connected to any of the characters or their motivation, aside from Theron. Definitely check this out if you love fantasy-ish stories about grim reapers and the constant battle between light and dark.