Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

Release date: August 6, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Format: ARC
Source: Author for blog tour
Pages: 368
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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?
What drew me in from the beginning and what made me love The Weight of Souls is that Egyptian mythology. (Funnily enough, that's what Bryony's guest post was about when she stopped here yesterday for the blog tour! I didn't even come up with the idea.) I'll admit I'm not that knowledgeable about Egyptian mythology, but I am enthusiastic and completely fascinated. Aside from the mythology, The Weight of Souls is a fast-paced, enthralling, and very well-written novel.

The descriptions and sense of place really stood out to me. Like Taylor, I always felt the foreboding sense of the Darkness because it was so well described and felt very present, almost like it was in the room with me, a tangible thing. It's weird to have something like the Darkness feel like a book's antagonist, but funnily enough, it really did--even more so than the murder Taylor was hunting down. The threat of the Darkness felt real, whereas the murderer wasn't such a threat. I loved this because it kept Taylor's struggles at the forefront. I mention the sense of place because the actual location is only mentioned once or twice, but I could just tell it was London, and that stuck out.

I was also very interested in the idea of redemption in The Weight of Souls. Seeing Justin's journey contrasted against that of murderers made him stand out all the more, and I loved seeing the bully really seeing and feeling the effects of his bullying.

My only complaint--if you can call it that--really lies with what I loved most: the mythology and background. I wanted to know more! What happens to those taken by the Darkness? We see a bit, but why does that happen? How and why was Anubis put into his position? (I'm desperately trying to be vague so I won't spoil!) I'm not sure if there will be another book, but I would definitely snatch it up, especially to learn more about the history!

But, I wouldn't pick up a sequel just to learn more about the mythology! I'd pick up this one--and a sequel, should it come--because the story is engrossing and compelling; the characters are well-formed and develop through the story; the idea is original and well-executed. I could go on. (And, hey! No white-washing, y'all.)

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