The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

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The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: A cliffhanger-type ending and a weak central romance meant this wasn't for me. Superb plotting and really good world-building, though, so could well be worth taking a look at.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 350 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1908844637

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Taylor Oh has inherited a curse from her mother. Fated to help ghosts of murder victims get revenge, or be taken by the Darkness herself, she lives her life in fear of being consumed. It's bad enough trying not to alienate her only friend, and persuade her father that she's not insane - but when school bully Justin gets murdered, she's left trying to solve the crime and also cope with the realisation she's becoming attracted to him.

This was an intriguing read which didn't quite work for me, but I can see it being very successful and really appealing to many readers. Personally, I found the development of the relationship between Taylor and Justin, and Justin's change in character, to be unreasonably quick. (Even bearing in mind that he'd been killed, I still didn't think it was believable.) In addition, I hadn't realised it was a series (which is probably my mistake, because to be fair, whenever you see a paranormal teen book announced these days you should just assume it's a series unless stated otherwise.) Partly because of this, I felt let down by the ending, which didn't seem to tie enough up for me.

Having said that, to certain readers, it's one I'd recommend quite strongly. Pearce's plotting is superb - especially if you're more forgiving of cliffhanger endings than I am - and she has a fast-paced writing style which makes it an entertaining read. Taylor's voice as a narrator is captured quite well without being anything special. What is special, though, is the world-building, as Pearce uses extracts from a book called The Journal of Oh-Fa to give us more details of the curse Taylor's family has been afflicted with. Speaking of Taylor's family, a special mention to her father, who doesn't believe in the curse but is constantly questing to solve the problem of Taylor's mysterious 'illness' - he's an excellent character, by far the most interesting in the book.

Anywhere from mildly recommended to strongly recommended, depending on what you're looking for in a paranormal tale.

One of my favourite paranormals of the year so far has been the bizarre, but brilliant, Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black.

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