Thursday, August 6, 2009

Soulstice by Simon Holt

Pub date - September 1, 2009

Six months . . .

Since Reggie fir
st discovered the existence of the Vours in a tattered journal. Since her little brother, Henry, began to mutilate animals and turn against her. Since she learned to devour her fear and destroyed a Vour to save Henry.

The Vours still haunt Reggie, but only in her dreams - until one horrifying night, when an unexpected visitor turns her nightmares into reality.
(book back blurb)

You know, it's books like this that make me want to haul ass to my local used book store and scour the shelves of YA horror of the days of yore (which I'll be doing on Saturday, thanks). The Devouring series is proof positive that you can have kick ass YA reading material without some derivative love triangle (or romance in general) mucking things up.

Steph from Reviewer X and I talked about this when we were at BEA. How many YA books out there do you know of that don't involve some kind of romance? Ding ding ding! I have one right here! But there are so many counting fingers left over . . .

Yes, Reggie has a crush but what fifteen-ear-old doesn't? The difference here is that that's as far as it went before Vour!Quinn was sunk into a frozen lake. No pining, no losing a sense of self, no moping. Just a crush before the shit hit the fan.

And then we get Soulstice which just takes the fucked-upedness to a whole new level. The mystery behind Eb is finally revealed and Reggie has to compromise the very thing she believes in in order to get the help she so desperately needs to fight the Vours. I can't talk about it without actually spoiling these little tidbits of information but damn, I loved them. And I just can't get enough of the fearscapes that Reggie makes her way into. They're just . . . things of nightmares. Not "OMG what am I going to do without my boyfriend?" nightmares but true-on Nightmare on Elm Street, you wake up and check to make sure your arms are still attached, nightmares. God I love it.

And the characters. If the fearscapes aren't enough, the characters and whole loads of love. Henry is one of the most multi-dimensional characters I've ever read. Reggie . . . I just like Reggie. She's a good, solid, well-rounded character that, despite the circumstances, comes off as real. You can actually believe that she could be a real chick. She's just normal. And Aaron is Reggie's Ducky but he's so much more than that. The kid takes a beating and just keeps on kicking. It shows just how strong the friendship is between those two. The father is a little cardboard but he barely plays a role so I can easily overlook that. And don't forget Eben. That guy is just love right there. The persistence he has with what he does would make any teenager envious. And it does in the book.

I have to say, this one didn't penetrate my defenses like it did in the first one but here, we know what the Vours are. To me, the mystery is what's the scariest. The unknown. We know what they are now and we know they're bastards so the fear is kind of gone. Well, at least the boogidy-boogidy fear, anyway. There are still many things left in this book to creep a person out, that's for damn sure.

So while the actual 'freaked out in the dark' horror element of the first book is gone, Soulstice escalated the series just to the other side of that. Now you know what these things are and you know exactly what they can do to you . . . right? When you think you have the dark all figured out, it throws you a blood-covered curve ball.

An excellent sequel and what a smarmy place to end it! Now I have to wait until the third comes out! Damn you, publishing schedules! Gah!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be for being off topic but John Hughes left the building at the early age of 59.

He will be missed, but as the song says, I will not forget about him.

Rachel said...

This is a really good review. I wish I could write like this but this book sounds really good. I'm going to have to go check it out sometime. It does seem like every YA book out there has some kind of romance. It would be nice to see what it would be like without all that awkwardness.

I Heart Monster said...

Call me craaazy, I didn't realize that the Devouring was a series. I've got the first one on my shelf. Oy. I need to quit being drawn to series! Thanks for the review!

Marie said...

Great review!
I haven't read the first one yet but since you say its really creepy im going to go for it!

Donna said...

Thank you, thank you! I really can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to scouring that used book store tomorrow for some old school YA horror! I love being creeped out!

Midnight Mary said...

You're so right with your review! The horror element was RIGHT THERE in The Devouring! I read it all in one night and I was scared to even leave my bed when I read it! But I couldn't just stop because I was scared, I had to go on! Truly a great book; can't wait till the first of September to read the sequel!

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