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Soul Bearer surprised me in a good way! While I do enjoy romantic movies, I always had a slight aversion toward romantic novels. This book cured that for me. The slow evolving romance between Aurisye and Rafnor is interesting and endearing. I kept wanting to turn the page to know what happened next and if they would finally admit their feelings be together. All this wrapped in a well-described fantasy world with humans, elves, and orcs who don’t exactly live in harmony and a rising dragon (who doesn’t love dragons?) that only Aurisye can defeat makes for a great read.
There are also some nice action scenes in the book, where Aurisye shows what she’s worth and that she is a true Soul Bearer. The book isn’t an action story at its core though. So, the action is less present, and the pace of the story is slower than it would be in an action story. The focus is more on the developing romance between Rafnor and Aurisye.
The ending was a bit unclear; I’m still not sure what exactly she did that worked or why staring at what she was staring at gave her the idea (seems very descriptive and vague, I know, I just don’t want to give you any spoilers). The book also had a climactic moment around the middle, where Aurisye came up with an idea which she was really nervous about because she thought Rafnor would hate her for it. It builds up the tension quite nicely, but I felt the pay-off fell a bit short: as soon as she acts out her idea, I immediately knew it wasn’t as devastating as I thought it would be.
A beautiful aspect of the book was that Aurisye is part orc and part human, making her different from the humans who live in her village (who hate orcs). They discriminated against her; they were mean and cruel to her, which made her believe no one could ever love her. But, the story showed that how you see yourself because of all the adversity and discrimination you’ve suffered, isn’t necessarily how everyone else views you. It only takes that one person who thinks your differences make you beautiful. In this case, it was Rafnor, and it made him all the more likable. This aspect definitely added to the experience for me; it wouldn’t have worked if both Aurisye and Rafnor were perfect humans. That’s simply not realistic.
The addition of the diary of Aurisye’s mother was also a nice touch; it added to the tension of the story as you kept wondering what had happened to her. The pay-off for that was terrific and emotional.
It wasn’t clear to me from the start that Aurisye could use magic, so I was quite surprised when she used magic without any problem. It might be that I totally overlooked that part in the book, but it threw me off a little bit. Nevertheless, the magic system is explained more later, and there are many nice little details throughout the story. The races and the political tension between them are realistic and add to the complications in the story.
The book was well-written. It’s in the present tense, which is unusual for the books I mostly read. But, after I got used to it, I found it worked. It places you more directly into the story. The world and setting of the story did feel a bit medieval-ish, which didn’t always seem to fit with the use of language. That might bother some people, but I’m just not one of them.
So, to wrap it up, if you love reading fantasy with a compelling slow-burn romance that has a decent action story with it, I totally recommend this book! And let’s not forget it has dragons! To make it easier, to buy the book in ebook, paperback, or hardcover: click here.
Also, definitely check out her website: http://www.elexisbell.com/