A Soul Reclaimed
Why did I start reading it? I was requested to review this and accepted because the plot sounded pretty interesting.
What is it? Nora ended up living in the castle of Hell's Steward when the man married her mother. She's somewhat neglected until one day she's thrown out to die in the dangerous forest not far off. She's saved by the ancient vampire Aegis who takes it upon himself to protect her. Why was she thrown out and why is Aegis protecting her?
What are the characters like? Aegis, Nora's mother Bella and the Steward Vinicio are the ones that carried this story to me. Vinicio's should be a bog-standard villain who wants to keep his power from a rebellious protagonist but there are a couple of things that almost make you feel sorry for him at times, things that make him very human. Nora's mother, Bella, is a mess of a human being, who has had a hell of a harsh life. I appreciate that the book showed her is two lights. From the point of view of her neglected daughter who sees her as a selfish woman and the view of her somewhat loving husband who sees the pain she has been through. And finally Aegis, our mysterious stranger. At the start of the story, he was the main reason I kept reading on, I was as curious as Nora as to his motivations and feelings on the situation.
What's the bad news? The start of this book was a little rocky. Nora frequently went into daydreams of her past that helped explain the world, which was a good way to get in the exposition but I sometimes did get a little lost between past and present. Like Nora in the book, I suppose. I also wasn't really a fan of it swapping between first and third person. Most of the book was from Nora's point of view, in the first person, but it swapped to third whenever it was from another perspective. It made it pretty clear when this happened at least with loverly big subtitles but I had to question why when the author was able to get as much emotion out of the third person scenes as the first.
And the good news? For the amount that the author puts into the book, it is incredibly well-paced for under 200 pages. In so few pages, Nora is taken on a journey through hell, where we get a good look at every region each with different values and cultures. It's all explained and shown very well, and when you think on top of that the author had to put in history and lore to make the main plot make sense it's pretty amazing, looking back, that I didn't feel dragged along on this magical mystery tour. There were one or two bits that felt a bit skipped over but overall, great pace. Between this very interesting depiction of hell, and the three characters I spoke about making you feel interested it wasn't much of a struggle to pick up this book again and again until I reached the end.
Would you recommend? Yeah. If you looking to go on a journey where every new area has something new to offer A Soul Reclaimed will happily take you there.