【 PRINCESS OF SOULS 】
If there’s one thing I like about Alexandra Christo’s books, it’s the creepy villains.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Author: Alexandra Christo
Published: October 2022
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 416 (paperback)
Thanks to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy for review.
I was so excited to hold a new Christo in my hands – I’m a big fan of To Kill A Kingdom. But I do confess that while this was enjoyable, the second half felt a bit clichéd and overly dramatic.
What I love about this was the soul-eating King who bound witches to serve him. In an annual festival, he collects souls to feed his immortality and it’s all delightfully wicked.
Selestra is the heir of the current witch but pretty early on she starts to realise that she’s not so keen on the idea of serving this tyrant. Alongside Nox, a solider, they start making a plan to seek some changes.
Overall this was okay. I really loved the first half and the excitement of Selestra making predictions with her magic about when Nox will die. It was fun and tense everytime you started to see reality catch up with a prediction, and not know how it would end.
But there’s a tipping point where this fell hardcore into clichés and the plot drew upon numerous tropes from the YA fantasy genre. The tone and genre of the second half felt disjointed from the beginning, and I think that’s a shame. For me, this dampened my excitement. It really threw me out of the story and I quickly became bored with the plot.
Selestra toed the line between being defiant/resourceful and a useless ninny, and I think that made sense for her character considering she’s been shut up in a castle all her life. But I do think Nox’s character was overwritten in the plain attempt to make him a loveable sassbag. Unfortunately, more often than not, I just wanted to slap him for being an ass.
Despite this, I’ll still be reading whatever comes next from Christo because while this didn’t hit the mark for me, I’m sure it will for many people, and I’m hopeful that it’s one-off and the next thing will be better.
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Have you read Princess of Souls?