Review of The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

The Weight of SoulsThe Weight of Souls
By: Bryony Pearce
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pre-Order:
Amazon
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An electronic copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

The Story:
I went into this book with little idea of the plot since I requested it with just a brief scan of the summary. For the most part, I really enjoyed The Weight of Souls. I found the pacing to be a great speed and was immediately drawn into the world that Pearce created and why Taylor was seeing ghosts . I was really surprised by how deep the story was and how it encompassed Egyptian myth. It was evident that the author researched her material and was passionate about telling this story. I will say that the way Pearce chose to present Taylor’s family history, through a relative’s journal, felt clunky to me. I never felt that the transition was smooth though I enjoyed the information provided.

SPOILER BELOW
My only flaw with this book was the romance. I could never get behind the relationship because I couldn’t see the Taylor and Justin more than friends. I enjoyed their dialog and friendship but any emotions going beyond friendship felt ‘off’ to me. I think it’s because I wasn’t sold that Taylor could fall for someone who had treated her the way that Justin had prior to him needing her help.
END SPOILER

The Characters:
I really enjoyed Taylor’s character. She was strong willed, capable and bold main character that made the most of her tough life. Her everyday existence was heartbreaking in the amount of stress and sadness she experienced. The bullying at school was horribly cruel and made me sad for her though it made her best friend stand out in her strength and solidarity.

Taylor’s father hasn’t had an easy time either and I was really impressed with the way Pearce wrote him. He was incredibly real and though he had faults you never questioned his love of his daughter. It was refreshing to read about a strong father figure that was present in his daughter’s life though he made obvious mistakes.

Final Thoughts:
The Weight of Souls was a surprisingly unique and engrossing read though it did have a couple minor flaws. Some of the techniques Pearce utilized for providing background information to the reader felt clunky and the romance was hard for me to believe but neither of these detracted from my overall enjoyment of this book.

 

Review of The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Pirate's WishThe Pirate’s Wish (The Assassin’s Curse #2)
By: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Electronic copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

This is the second in a series so might contain spoilers from the first novel. Read my review for The Assassin’s Curse here.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

The Story:
The first in this series, The Assassin’s Curse, was a wonderful surprise to me. I was swept away with the setting and characters. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get into reading The Pirate’s Wish. I was happy it started where the other left off and our characters were true to themselves. I felt that some of the story dragged and I wished the three impossible tasks had been a bit more impossible. Overall it kept with the fun nature of the first, though I felt this one veered into the realm of silly (there were talking sharks–this was too far for me).

 The Characters:
Ananna was angst filled for a lot of the book but this didn’t hamper her growth. The romance was there, but was a tad different than I expected and I found myself frustrated as I often am with characters not communicating. A new character played a rather large role, it would be a spoiler to reveal details, but I will say I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about her.

Final Thoughts:
I wasn’t as blown away with The Pirate’s Wish as I would have liked mostly due to the story going into the territory of talking animals. For some reason it just seemed really ‘off’ to me and I couldn’t shake it feeling silly. I am happy I read it and I will likely read more of what Clarke has to offer.

Review of The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's CurseThe Assassin’s Curse
By: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: Purchased for Kindle

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

The Story:
This book was so much fun to read; I breezed through it not wanting to stop once I got into the story. It was fast paced though not a whole lot happens within the central story arc. It’s a lot about the relationship between Naji and Ananna. Often times I am annoyed when there isn’t a defined story climax or not a lot of progression but with The Assassin’s Curse I wasn’t bothered in the least. I ate up every word and let myself be pulled around the world presented to me. I loved the settings (desert, pirate ships,e etc) that Clarke chose to place her characters. I’ve not read many books with these settings but there should really be more.

The Characters:
At first I was the tiniest bit put off with Ananna’s slang,

I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.

That’s the first line of the book. I had to reread it over to make sure I had read it correctly since the grammar threw me off. It didn’t take long until I had voice for Ananna and was finding her so endearing I didn’t care what grammar she used or didn’t use. She is such a fun, charismatic and unique character I can’t wait to read more adventures with her.

I immediately fell for Naji, give me an assassin with a large scar and I’m smitten. I know there should be nothing attractive about assassin’s but for some reason I’m always drawn to them in fiction, and Naji is no exception. He is just aloof enough to be a mystery but open enough for me to love him.

Final Thoughts:
The Assassin’s Curse was a blast to read and I can’t wait to read The Pirate’s Wish which releases in June.