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    A Must Read For YA Fans

    A Soul Reclaimed is the debut novel of Shayna Grissom. It follows the story of Nora, a sixteen year old girl, as she searches to try and find where she belongs. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a traditional coming of age story. The entirety of the tale takes place in Hell. Yeah, actual Hell though most of it is rather pleasant. Hell is divided into seven regions and not all of them are hellish. Nora finds herself all alone in the world (er, Hell) with no real idea of what to do and how to survive. Luckily, her hero comes in the form of Aegis, an incredibly old vampire who somehow wound up being my favorite character. Together they travel throughout Hell and, eventually, Nora realizes where she belonged all along…but if you want to know where that place is, read the book ;) The book itself starts off a bit slow; not unbearably slow, though. I was engaged enough to keep reading even if I hadn’t been asked to review this book but it took me until later on to become super invested in the story. It’s a quick read, something that you want to keep reading and not put down. I genuinely enjoyed it. Besides the slight slow pace in the start there are a few other things I’d like to mention. We see an incredible amount of Hell and actually get to experience it. Shayna did an incredible job making sure that the reader could see the world without telling them. There isn’t pages upon pages of descriptive detail about the landscape but we can still visualize it clearly in our minds. It’s extremely well done. Nora as a character is interesting and we see her mature and change throughout this book. Her mindset is that of a teenage girl who has been thrown into a very adult situation; so exactly how it should be. She’s a believable character. Aegis, as I mentioned, is my favorite because he is a very well developed character with a lot of depth. The Steward we also get to see quite a bit of. Nora’s mother is my only character issue because she comes off a bit flat. However, she’s also made out to be a rather flat person so perhaps that’s for the best. My only true issue with this book in any way, shape, or form is the ending. We spend 300+ pages with Nora on her adventure and, towards the end of the book, she decides to take what’s hers. Unfortunately, this whole situation is way too easy. Now, I need to remember that this is fantasy and a young adult novel so things don’t have to be entirely realistic but still. Without much spoilers I’ll say this, Nora ends up having to fight the crown (or Steward, I guess). She manages to get the entire military on her side, which is unbelievable in itself. Wouldn’t at least a few side with the Steward and his money? Then when it comes to the actual show down it takes, what? Two chapters, roughly 12 pages of conflict and roughly 6 pages of actual battle. It felt too easy. Plus, the book ends there, with only a little bit of story left. BUT! This is only the beginning! For a debut novel, this was a well-crafted and enjoyable story. For the first book of a series, it did a good job of making me look forward to the next one. I genuinely recommend this book. It’s a fun, enjoyable read that made me laugh out loud plenty. But it also offers some commentary and insight about the world around us (here and now) and how, if we truly try, we can change the world for the greater good. *I was asked to review the book by the author and given a copy of it. However, this is my genuine, unbiased review of this novel.
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