16 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.
And 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?
I really enjoyed this book. It is such an interesting concept and really sets the start of an amazing YA series. The character of Taylor was written well, it was just like I remember school being and how I felt when when I was a teen – although I didn’t have to deal with ghosts and murderers (that I’ll admit to anyway!)
From a writer’s perspective, it was a little jumpy in places, although I’m assuming that was because I was reading an Advanced Reader Copy. It had an interesting murder mystery running alongside the supernatural plot, however for me it was easy to work out what happened – maybe because I’m an adult? I could have done with a few more red herrings and twists in that department.
The paranormal story arc is based on Egyptian legend, however with the main character being of Chinese heritage, I did feel that the author missed an opportunity. China’s legends are strong and rich and I was surprised that the story wasn’t rooted there rather than a separate, and much more over-used, culture as Egypt. In my opinion, the story would have better if it has been more culturally linear.
The front cover is stunning and really captures the essence, dare I say soul, of the book and I think the artist really portrayed Taylor’s character.
Overall, I’d give The Weight of Souls 4 out of 5 starts. I great read that felt like it finished too soon – so lets hope there’s another in the pipeline – it was certainly set up well in the end to carry on.
Also, don’t forget, the publishers Strange Chemistry (YA imprint of UK publishers Angry Robot) currently have their door wide open for un-agented submissions. If you want to pop along and feel the draft: Strange Chemistry Open Door 2013 I know that I’m currently beavering away on something for to send in.
Now, if you want to enjoy The Weight of Souls yourself, you’ll have hang on till August 2013 – but you can pre-order here on Amazon.co.uk