Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review of
Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Welcome to York, England.

Mist lingers in the streets.
Narrow buildings cast long shadows.
This is the most haunted city in the world. . . .

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. . . .

Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls? 

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption. (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)

Why I Chose the Book: I am a sucker for ghost stories. I love suspense and seeing how well an author can verbally, through prose, creep me out or keep me on edge. There is also something about an English setting that has the ability to grab my attention and reading a story set in "the most haunted city in the world" well that sealed the deal.

Reasons I Like or Disliked the Book: I enjoyed the setting of Dark Souls and its history, which was told as a back drop to the present day events of Miranda and her brother. While I did not check to see whether or not the historical aspect was real or made up, Morris' writing allows the reader to believe that the ghostly record of the town is true. Unfortunately, while this aspect of the book worked for me, my connection to the characters did not. I never felt invested in Miranda and her brother's inability to overcome the tragic accident that killed Miranda's best friend. The accident and Miranda's subsequent ability to see ghost felt contrived as did their trip to York.  Miranda's mysterious boy in York, and her fascination with him also felt uncharacteristically forced. Personally, I never warmed up to Nick, and doubted that he could attract anyone by his sullen, rude, antisocial behavior. The vengeful ghost's role was slow to unfold, and the excitement and danger was too little too late. The ending was also too pat for my taste.

Reasons for Recommending the Book: Despite the fact that Dark Souls will not make it to my top ten list, the setting and gothic feel is sure to entice readers. If you like ghost stories, this one has them and then some. 

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