Book Review: Soul Thief by Jana Oliver

OnAPaleStar November 11, 2011 No Comments »

Soul Thief by Jana OliverSoul Thief
Janna Oliver
Urban fantasy
August 2011
St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 978-0-312-61479-9
324 pages
format: paperback
accquired: purchased

cross-posted from On a Pale Star: A Book Blog for Speculative Fiction

The blurb, from Powell’s:
Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them…

Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late fathers been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if thats not enough, there’s Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter whos made himself Rileys unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Rileys almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.

But as Atlantas demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the citys “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hells attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can’t last forever…

The review:

Warning! Thar be SPOILERS for the first book in the series, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, in this review.

I lost a lot of sleep reading Soul Thief; I bought it during my lunch break at work, read it a bit that hour… and then started reading as soon as I got home later that night. I couldn’t put it down! I just had to know what was going to happen next, and what else Riley was going to have to go through.

Soul Thief picks up right where The Demon Trapper’s Daughter left off. Riley’s life is in chaos–everything, it seems, has hit the fan–and it only gets harder from there. Authors really do torture their characters, and it hurts, as an adult, to see seventeen year old Riley go through everything life (read: Jana Oliver) throws at her. I don’t want to spoil much, so I won’t go into detail, but I think if I’d been going through Riley’s life at that age I would’ve just curled up and tried to ignore the world. Luckily for the story, Miss Blackthorne is made of tougher stuff than I am and has a stubborn streak a mile wide, so she not only plugs along, she takes the initiative and keeps on with the investigation into holy water that started in The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, as well as getting dangerously close to the necromancers in Atlanta to find out who pulled her father out of his grave.

Have you ever read a story and known that it wasn’t going to go as well for the protagonist as he or she is anticipating? Of course you have. You’re an experienced reader; you know authors are cruel torturers at heart. It’s hard, so hard, when you see all the signs of the bottom dropping out when the character is blind to it. I can’t blame Riley. She’s only seventeen and for all that she’s a demon hunter, she’s still pretty innocent. That tension between Riley’s hope for at least one good thing in her life and my reader-knowledge that it wasn’t going to last was a great, if hard to bear, tension.

I knew it wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows for Riley, but I wasn’t prepared for just what happened when the bottom did finally drop out. I won’t spoil it for you, but I actually gasped and slapped my hand over my mouth in horror.

It’s a powerful ending, and it leaves me antsy for book three, which is scheduled to release in March 2012. I’ll be beside myself between now and then, worrying not only about Riley, but about Beck as well.

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