“The world had turned to waste; immortality was never meant for man and it drove humanity to the edge of destruction.”
I have heard it said, that sometimes the ideas which sound the most wonderful can turn out to be the worst. Jacinta Maree explores this very concept as it concerns a form of immortality. In Soulless, a person's body is not invulnerable to entropy as is common to most ideas of eternal existence. Instead, when one dies they are reincarnated with the memories and personalities of their previous lives. This poses serious issues for mental health. While a drug has been developed to suppress the voices of the past, it is in short supply. I found this idea to be enjoyable as it is a novel approach to immortality, and a fresh scenario for dystopian fiction.
The two main characters were great. The show of such inescapable dysfunction was exciting and nerve racking. The remaining characters didn't seem to display much depth. Sure, there were surprises from others, but none seemed to be terribly complex. I would have wanted to see more overall personal interaction, and this might have fixed the aforementioned gripe. This is not meant to convey a serious detraction from the book. It's for knowing to expect a sense of personal detachment, and that the story uses accessory characters to support the plot.
The world was as graphic as the book cover which grabbed my attention in the first place (much congratulations to Thander Lin). Appropriate amounts of detail made for a rich experience, but not a burdensome read. I am glad that the world was not a static backdrop of urban decay. There were environments which are typical of dystopian genre, and there were others which seemed almost normal. This is an idea which is often overlooked. When the world falls apart, not everything will be consumed and the lifestyles of some will continue unaffected.
The beginning was fast and I was brimming with speculation. A great launch! I was gripped by Nadia's experiences. But somewhere in the middle the narrative lost it's momentum. I am not sure what happened to the pacing, but my first guess is story elements that do not move the action. I am glad for it hooking me again towards the last quarter. I don't enjoy monitoring my progression, feeling tired at the end, or writing a dismal review. There were also editing issues, which seemed to exacerbate the sluggish middle. When I would just barely become submerged in the story, a typo, missing word, or noun/verb plural disagreement would jar me back to reality. I had not expected to find an editor, let alone two, credited in the front. Not necessarily an indication of poor editing skills, but possibly they had been on the project too long or other ruinous circumstances.
As I intend to request a review copy for the second instalment, readers can be confident in my recommendation of this book, regardless of the detractions. It's premise and conclusion are both great, and can hopefully be considered a rocky start for a potentially awesome series.
About the Author (from authors page)
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons and Japan. Published in 2012 to USA publisher Staccato Publishing, Jacinta writes a variety of genres from YA paranormal, steampunk, horror and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and best selling author, Jacinta writes to answer all of her absurd questions and to explore themes and characters not often seen in main media.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.