My Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers Trilogy #1)
Author: G.P. Ching
Publisher: DarkSide Publishing
Cover Art: Adam Bedore/Anjin Designs
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Young Adult with some religious elements
Length: 272 Pages with a bonus preview of the book Anathema by Megg Jensen at the end.
When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother's car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can't find his mother's body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, a beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a gifted warrior charged with protecting human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother's disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva's motives for helping him.
I'll be honest, the first time I sat down to read this book I had a hard time getting into it. I finally set it aside for a while. It wasn't the book's fault. Or the author's. I just had a lot going on in my life at the time and couldn't manage to summon the focus necessary to absorb this book. And it deserves that kind of focus.
There are so many things going on that you need to be able to concentrate solely on this book to give it the attention it deserves. It's like one of those movies where you can't risk looking away for a second or you will miss something. That said, you want to trust me on this: it's worth it.
For a teenager, Jacob is a strong character. He is well developed, as are all the characters, with all the flaws and quirks necessary to make him become real. He has a very strong sense of self and loyalty. He is a kid who knows who he is and he refuses to let anybody change that. Even in the small town atmosphere that he finds himself in. When he is taken from his home in Hawaii and forced to live with his Uncle in Paris, Illinois, Jacob has to adapt to an entirely new way of life. Not only is he living with relatives that he never even knew existed but he also has to leave island life far behind. No more sand and sea, casual attitudes and acceptance of his differences. Here his differences are glaringly obvious and he's not allowed to forget it.Jacob also slowly becomes aware of the fact that he is different in other ways too. Ways that aren't quite....normal. In a quest to figure out who...or what....he is, and his quest to find his missing mother, he is brought together with Dr. Silva and they have adventures quite unlike anything I have read before.
Even the secondary characters, Malini (I loved this character), Uncle John, Dr. Silva, even the kids at school, just leap off the page at you. It's like they are sitting next to you telling you their stories. Malini is Jacob's best friend and love interest and she is lovely. Mature beyond her years and determined not to forget her heritage like her parents seem to being trying to do, she is the perfect counter-character to Jacob. Malini helps Jacob adjust and settle in to this new life. She is very accepting of his differences and determined to help him figure things out. And Dr. Silva? Well, I'll let you discover her on your own. She is distinctly unique.
This author will keep you guessing until the very end on who the true "bad guys" are and who the good guys are. Each character has so much depth to them that you truly see what real people they are and that everybody has flaws. The plot is very well developed, so in depth, with so many twists and turns that it will keep you engrossed from start to finish. There are some Christian elements to the book, but I won't say more than that because I don't want to give anything away. I will say that it's not "in your face" Christian but very intriguing and interesting. The worldbuilding involved in this book is fantastic and I could see it in your mind as clearly as a movie.
This book has it all. Teen angst, magic, good versus evil, fantasy, first love and suspense. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. It leaves you wanting to see what happens and wanting to return to the world of Jacob and Malini. Entertaining enough, that any editorial flaws (which I didn't notice many) are easily overlooked because you are so drawn into the world that you just don't care. As the first in a series, it is easily a stand along novel, so no worries there. Thoroughly enjoyable. This book is available in both paperback and for ereaders.