Review of The Soulkeepers by G. P. Ching

The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers #1)The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book wasn’t what I expected, but I liked it. I knew from the blurb that the main character, Jacob, would die at the beginning. Somehow I thought his search for his mother would be in the afterlife or another dimension or somewhere other than Earth, but instead he revived and ended up going to live with an uncle he never knew he had.

It turns out the two families have been estranged for good reason. Jacob doesn’t fit in with his adoptive old blood relatives or at his new school. He makes enemies at both places and he’s miserable trying to find a way to get back home to Hawaii to look for his mother. The only bright spot is a girl from India whose family doesn’t fit in much better than he does. I enjoyed the multicultural aspect.

It doesn’t take long for Jacob to get in trouble. The female doctor across the street becomes involved as his teacher and strange things start happening. Some are in the summary, but others aren’t. I had a hard time deciding whether the doctor was good or evil, a distinction that played a pivotal role in the story. Without giving too many spoilers, I will say that Jacob finds an unusual way to travel while looking for his mom. He also discovers an unusual talent. One idea is too similar to another book, but the other is very creative. Both cause more trouble and consequences I didn’t expect.

I didn’t like that Malini, a supposedly good girl, sneaks away from home at night, an unlikely choice for someone with her upbringing. One thing leads to another, and Jacob’s bad choices mount until he makes one that turns even Malini away. That’s when we find out the nature of the bad guys. If you don’t like books that involve religious themes, you won’t like this one. I’m fine with any book that puts the subject in a new light. Creativity makes a big difference in my interest even if I don’t agree with the book’s interpretation of free will and consequences of sin.

There are some editing problems and mis-used words, but few problems most readers will notice. The story structure is sound and the pace is good leading to a page-turner climax. Overall I give The Soulkeepers four stars. I would be interested in the sequels, but it’s not for young teens who might model the behavior of the characters.

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Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.

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