The Weight of Souls — Book Review

As I sit here, hot chocolate by my side and rain thundering outside, I am glad to say that my holidays have been very full. I’ve had five weeks of church camps, acting at the local theatre, family and friend get-togethers, job hunting, movie watching and book reading. I also got my uni marks for last semester back, and I’m pleased to report that I went extremely well in all of my subjects. (Yeah, I know, I’m real modest.)

Somewhere in there I received an ARC in the mail: a book for me to review, free of charge. I think it’s obvious that I was excited. Plus, I received a little card signed by the author and a little ghost charm (it’s themed, don’t worry). And it was a Strange Chemistry book—an imprint of Angry Robot, a publisher I love. So, awesomeness in a little cardboard package arrived at my house that day.

Bryony Pearce’s novel The Weight of Souls gripped me immediately with its story of ghost-avenger and struggling teenager, Taylor Oh. It had the perfect mix of fantasy and reality, of ancient curses and broken friendships. It took me a week and a half to read it, but I had read half of it in two days before I left for a four-night camp, which was followed by two nights of performances in the play I was in. Cut me some slack, you fast-readers you.

Cover for WEIGHT OF SOULS

A pleasing mix of China, Egypt and magic…

The main character is of Asian descent (‘Oh’ is generally a pretty good indicator of that, as is the cover), and the rest of the character cast is pleasantly multicultural. But don’t let that sway your opinion one way or the other, because it really doesn’t add much to the story. The most her being Chinese means is that bullies can direct racial slurs her way. Anyway, it was nice to read something where different ethnicities aren’t that big a deal. As they shouldn’t be.

Know that this is a YA novel. It shouldn’t make a difference, because the best YA should be universal, but I do feel like the plot is dumbed down a bit. And I’m getting really sick of the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ endings. I mean, the novel is obviously set up for at least one sequel, but does everything have to go so swimmingly all the time? My favourite ending of any story would have to be at the end of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials — but no spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the trilogy yet!

All in all though, this was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the second one in the series (as there has to be after an ending like that!). I’m tossing up between three and a half stars, or four stars. Meh, what the heck: four stars it is. Well done Bryony!

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8 thoughts on “The Weight of Souls — Book Review

  1. Busy summer indeed! I missed your interesting reviews, now there’s a new book I’ll have to find, read and talk about to my customers : )

      • Not that much, we have a few classics but otherwise it’s mostly special orderings. Now the shame of being back in France is that I don’t get English books that easily or quickly, and I’ll have to wait months if not years for a translation – even for the last secret J.K.Rowling!

      • That really sucks! It’s a shame that it takes so long for translations…you’ve got a pretty amazing grasp of the English language—why don’t you become a translator? 😛

  2. Ahah you know that actually I could? It was part of my degree, 3 years learning English language, including translation in both ways! I’ve done a few translations for some articles while I was in England, but to a whole book…I’m not that professional yet 😉 But I’m practicing, I’ve just finshed writing a ‘musical’ in your beautiful language!

    • Wow! Look at you, translating things! From when I studied Italian, I know it’s quite difficult (well, at least for me) but if you’re already translating articles and writing musicals and reading entire novels in English…well, you’re well on your way to being a ‘professional’. No rush though…but I’d read your work anytime. What’s the musical about?

      • It’s just a random idea I had with a good friend who also happens to love musicals and to be a performer herself. It’s about a little girl’s journey to fame, with all the training, compromises, projects, joys and pains, from singing on her bed with a hairbrush to the Tony Awards ceremony. Whatever I write that makes me really satisfied I’ll let you read it, I need some serious feedback sometimes : )

      • That sounds like a lot of fun (both to create, and to watch 😉 ) Oh, I’d love to read any of your work and I’d do my best to provide valuable feedback! 🙂

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