October 9, 2011

Review: Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Dark Souls
Author: Paula Morris
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 054525132X
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher for a honest review

Dark Souls by Paula Morris is yet another in a long line of paranormal romance novels geared towards young adult readers in a sea of eerily romantic tales. Honestly, I didn’t hold out a lot of expectations for it simply because this is at times becoming something of a cookie cutter genre. But, that said, I have to admit I was quite impressed upon first glance by the high quality of writing and description that Morris puts in to her opening pages. In truth, it was this that really sparked my interest and made me eager to start reading more. In the end, I found this to be a great read with some truly engaging characters and an atmosphere that was eerie wholly dimensional. So, if you are looking for a ghostly romance to read this Halloween, I eagerly endorse this novel as being worthwhile.

To begin, the characters are wonderful. From the beginning of the story we are drawn in to the tragic past of the main character Miranda and the eerie talent she comes to possess. She’s withdrawn with some very deep emotional issues that are nicely expressed making her something of a complex yet accessible character. Enter Nick, a charismatic and mysterious boy who captivates her interest, and I must admit, my own. From the moment he appeared I wanted to know more. Also worth mentioning was the family dynamic, which I really loved. It was nice seeing concerned, involved parents that were attentive and caring. They were very much present within the story, something that you don’t often see, wanting to spend time with their children exploring a new city. So many novels simply gloss over this dynamic making for absentee families, which usually works for the story, but always leaves a very unbelievable family connection that always somehow disappoints. I can definitely say I applaud Morris for being able to create a world around a functional family showing that it can be done!

The world building is first rate with lots of history and atmosphere thrown in to make the locale come to life. I was enthralled by York’s history and all of the ghostly lore which couldn’t have been more appropriate for this tale. It also really lent itself to the ever unfolding twists and turns that the novel takes as well as the ensnaring mystery that lies at the heart of the story. Truly, I am all about the atmosphere, and Morris really delivered with surprising attention to detail and wonderfully vivid imagery.

The writing itself was really quite good. The narrative flowed flawlessly making this an easy quick read that drew you in to the characters’ lives and the chilly streets of York. At times, I will say that the quality dropped a bit, making for a few rough patches where the pace lagged. As a whole, however, I found this to be a read that kids and adults alike can enjoy. I should also mention, this novel is fully young adult friendly.

Overall, this is good read perfect for Halloween, especially if you need something quick and interesting to pass a rainy day!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars