Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Lost Souls #2
Publication Date: July 16th 2012
Page Count: 82 Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Advance Review Copy
This time the dead are hungry… Rachel Miller doesn't just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls. A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel's mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she'll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?
If you read my review for book one, The Stubborn Dead, you'll know I had some reservations about the format this series is set to be released in. Which basically is to have each book be novella-length, and to have short, punchy action-filled "episodes" with an overarching character development. I wasn't sure I could get behind that idea, since novellas often just aren't long enough for me to get fully engaged in.
Well, I changed my mind. I'm a female, it's allowed.
I really do think that Hoar might be onto something here. As long as they are released regularly-- i.e. a couple of months apart, not the standard 12 months-- I think the idea might just work. You'd essentially be getting four 60-90 page books a year, instead of one 300-400 page book. Sound good?
Well the way Hoar writes it, it certainly seems to work as she managed to completely change my mind over the course of just two books.
So far, in each one, there's been the main ghost issue to deal with, which takes up probably 80% of the plot, with some nice action scenes and some world-building that's coming along nicely. Then the other 20% is filled with what I'd call characterisation scenes; a bit of Rachel's back story, or some nice dialogue scenes between Rachel and her new pals. If anything, the characterisation is the area that currently lacks in my opinion, which is no doubt due to lack of page space or any kind of slower scenes to develop them in. You're basically going to have to get to know your protagonist and the people surrounding her very gradually, but I suspect this may make them in some ways more intriguing, and you may find they stay in your mind longer, because you're only fed such little tidbits about them.
On the negative side of that coin, however, it does annoy me somewhat that I don't even know what my main character looks like, or her age. I've basically just been going off the cover for ideas. We did at least get a little back story on Rachel this time around, a bit of her family history, which was nice. But I'll look forward to hopefully getting even more in the next instalment.
The best part at the moment for me is the great ghost stories. They're not your typical Gothic-style, creepy ghosts that are all ethereal and insubstantial, making noises and writing on your bathroom mirror. Oh no. These ghosts will kick your ass there and back again. Then maybe eat your soul afterwards 'cause, you know, they're a bit peckish after all the ass kicking.
I also love the burgeoning friendship (and maybe more) that Rachel has going with Kit. I'm dying to know more about the four presences that come to take souls to the Other Side and why one keeps lingering. And who the heck are the people with their eye on Rachel are and what do they want with her?
More answers please!
All in all, I'm glad I gave this series a go despite my reservations about the books' size. They are now something I will look forward to as a delicious little morsel that gets more interesting the more I find out.
4 Stars ★★★★
Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review