The Soul Trade by E E Richardson

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The Soul Trade by E E Richardson

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Exciting supernatural adventure in which a young boy accidentally enters into a Faustian pact which steals his art talent. Tense and well-written, it's another great tale of the unexpected from Richardson.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Corgi
ISBN: 0552553891

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Nick is desperately seeking a birthday present for his stepmother and failing miserably when he stumbles on Bargains, a run-down outfit without even a cash register on display. What it does have, though, are beautiful glass orbs, each containing a tiny scene. Nick lights upon one as the perfect gift and as soon as he does, the owner appears and suggests an exchange rather than a purchase. Nick's more than happy to give him one of his sketches for such a beautiful object, and rushes home with his present feeling as though he really has got a bargain...

... until he tries to draw.

And then Nick discovers it wasn't the sketch Mr Grey took in exchange - it was his talent. In a desperate attempt to win it back - no talent, no art school, no career, no life - he finds himself in Mr Grey's employ, redeeming all sorts of other bargains the mysterious man has made. And these are no ordinary orbs and no ordinary bargains. It seems Mr Grey has a very dark magic.

I always enjoy a good tale of the unexpected and I wasn't let down by The Soul Trade. It's rather shivery and threatening - the menace presented by the taciturn and unfriendly Mr Grey is tremendously creepy, and the idea that true evil is always lurking around the corner, even in the busiest and most modern of our towns and cities, is always a winner.

Nick is a credible character. He has a loose living arrangement, sharing his time between both sets of parents and step-parents, and this enables his secret life in a supernatural world, and also makes it believable. He's a nice kid, with art ambitions, and a loving and supportive family. He's also adolescent, though, and so they write off his odd mood as something to do with his age - giving him more cover again. Eventually, though, we all know something has to give, and so it's just as well Nick has Katie, his good friend and perennial nosy person.

Tension builds pretty quickly, and Nick is in way over his head almost before he knows it. The magic isn't overdone but it's there, and there's some very astute observation in the overlaying realism of Nick's life and general teenage woes - exams, clothes, annoying little brothers. Any young fan of supernatural thrillers will love this book, so it comes recommended by all of us at Bookbag.

My thanks to the nice people at Corgi for sending the book.

If they enjoy thrilling novels in which magic intrudes on daily life, they might also like The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.

Buy The Soul Trade by E E Richardson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Soul Trade by E E Richardson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Soul Trade by E E Richardson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Soul Trade by E E Richardson at Amazon.com.


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