Review: Soul Render by T.L. Branson

22 augustus 2018

Synopsis

It was clearly a magical stone … but what did it do?

Will’s father is dead. And now he wants vengeance, but there is more standing in his way than he knows. Alone, he will surely fail, but who will fight by his side?

Will needs a plan. To kill the man who slaughtered his father he must face fifty battle-hardened soldiers and worse. Can a band of rebels be won over to his cause? Will they help him steal the stone he needs for victory? Can he learn to wield its powerful magic in time?

And then there are the rumors… Is it a demon, a god, or something unimaginable?

You’ll be hooked on this epic tale from page one, because everyone loves an epic adventure against all odds.

Fans of R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, and Sarah J. Maas will love this sword and sorcery adventure.

 

***SPOILERFREE REVIEW***

The Writing

This book certainly knew how to draw me in instantly. The first sentence did it. The book’s pretty easy to read. No long sentences or difficult words, though the author does add some (minor) characters with accents so I had to read some sentences out loud to understand what was said. The book’s written in such a way that the surroundings become vivid and the atmosphere in which the characters walk becomes suspenseful. That’s pretty darn good writing. The writer uses dry humor from time to time. Like when a character is searching for information about the Soul stones in a library and comes across a book with the title: ‘So You Found a Soul Stone, Now What?’ That made me chuckle.

Editorial notes

This book definitely had a fair share of edits before it was published. No huge grammar errors as far as I could tell, though I did miss a few points and quotation marks at the end of some sentences. And there were a few words/sentences that seemed a bit ‘off’. For instance the word deliverance was cut into half because it was at the end of a line. If used correctly it should say ‘deli – verance’, but instead it said ‘deliv – erance’. I know, it’s just a slight thing, but still.

Point of view

The writing is in third person, so we see from a lot of different perspectives. This definitely helped understand the storyline, though in some parts of the story the All Knowing Voice seemed a bit too much to me. When we read from the point of view of Will, the main character, we don’t need to read his name in every other sentence. That kind of irritated me at a certain point. (Oh yes, I can be critical, but that is only because I aim for the best! 😉 )

Characters

Although the author has done a great job in distinguishing each character, I still felt they were a little flat. They didn’t come alive, so to speak. Especially in a series it’s imperative that the first book is all about getting to know the (main) characters and starting to care for them and their journey. Their actions aren’t always well explained and right when we needed the point of view of one of the characters to understand what happened, the author didn’t use that character’s POV anymore. The story itself has been entertaining, but I couldn’t really warm up to any of the characters.
Will, however, did come alive for me. He struggles and overthinks, which made him seem more human, but he also seemed to adjust to his newfound powers very easily, especially considering the cost of using these powers.
While I was reading my head was spinning with the many names and the fast paced action that took place in this book.
In my view there were too many characters. Some, I felt, didn’t add much to the story. But almost all were given a name, only to be killed a few pages later. And there were a few scenes that made me frown and could do with a bit more explaining. Some scenes seemed a bit too easily solved and didn’t make sense to me. For instance a scene were person A discovers something about person B but doesn’t actually act upon it until person B is long gone. Why not act upon it instantly? Why wait until person B is out of person A’s grasp?

The ending

The ending was powerful with a twist I did not see coming. But this twist didn’t have the earth shattering effect that I am sure it had intended to. It was also the only thing that was unresolved at the end of the book. Leave out that last page, it’s basically a standalone book. Perhaps the author aimed for this, although in my experience a first book in a series should have more unresolved things that have to be addressed in the following book(s).
This twist didn’t push me to find out who these new identities actually were. Their names were mentioned before, but nothing that would keep me want to read further. It might have helped to get a bit of background info on these characters slipped into the book before we reached the end.

So, is this first book of the Soul Stones series enough for me to continue reading?

I’m sorry to say, I don’t feel as invested in the characters as I want to be when I answer this question with a 100% yes. It’s a maybe for me. This is because the book feels like a standalone. It feels like the major issues have been solved and the few that seem unresolved didn’t interest me as much to want to pick up the next book instantly.
All in all, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars, simply because I do find the writing vivid and suspenseful, and the storyline itself entertaining. Will I read book 2? Perhaps in the future, but for now it’s hasn’t made my shortlist.

 

Buy Soul Render by T.L. Branson on Amazon.

Published author of the Somnia Series. Motivational coach for Fantasy writers, offering all kinds of service on her own Dutch platform www.fantasyschrijfcoaching.nl. Passionate about helping writers write their best Fantasy Stories and promoting Indie Authors who have the courage and determination to make their books worth your (reading) time.

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