Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce

Title: The Weight of Souls
Author: Bryony Pearce
Release date: August 6th 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: ARC
Pages: 344
Source: Publisher

Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

I didn't know what to expect of The Weight of Souls, but once I started reading it, it completely drew me in. I love the whole concept, because it's something I've never read before and that really intrigued me. The characterization is great, and I found myself connecting with Taylor pretty easily. After the end of this book, it's quite clear that this is the first of a series, in which case I can't wait for the next one!

Taylor's been helping out ghosts with their vengeance ever since she saw her first ghost at the age of ten. Her mother helped her embrace who she is, but now that her mother's gone, she has no one to rely on. Her father simply doesn't believe in the fact that his daughter can see ghosts, and chalks it up to a disease. Taylor's never been popular in school as a result of her ability, and she has no desire to be. But when Justin - one of the most popular guys in the school and Taylor's frequent tormentor - dies, Taylor has to help him out. And what she finds is something deeply rooted within the history of the school - The V Club. She realizes the danger it possesses, but she has to join, to pass on the Mark to Justin's murderer and prevent the darkness from coming for her.

I immediately liked Taylor, right from chapter one. She's snarky and feisty, and really smart too. Liking the protagonist really helped me identify with her, and I felt so angry on her behalf when she was being bullied by the assholes in her school. One thing I found a little weird is that Taylor never questions her fate. She accepts that she has to help ghosts move on, and transfer the Mark to their murderers so the Darkness can get them. She doesn't know where they go, or what happens to them. Of course, she finds out eventually, but only because she is made to. Anyway, what I admire most about Taylor is her guts. She's willing to do anything for what she believes in. And her memory's pretty fantastic, too!

I really didn't like Justin at the beginning. Well, when he was alive. After he dies, he gets a lot better. Justin's character development is amazing. He changes so much over the course of the novel - for the better, obviously. He was such a prick when he was alive, strutting about with his gang, it's really a relief that he died. Since he does help Taylor out a lot, once he realizes she's not kidding about his death. Justin's like a steady rock for Taylor as she tries to figure out the mystery behind his death. He looks out for her, and slowly they start falling for each other. I thought the whole process was really sweet. Their relationship had time to develop, and there was definitely no insta-love. Taylor initially hated Justin, for all the pain he caused her. I don't know how she completely forgave him for it, but I'm glad she did. Because I love them together.

One thing I really love about The Weight of Souls is that it's British - written by a British author and set in London. It's a refreshing change from the usual American YA novels I read, it's something different. And since I just got back from a vacation in London this month, I found it really cool to read about the tube and places I'd visited.

You can probably tell from the synopsis, but there's loads of action in this book, which is awesome since I love action. A lot of mystery, too, as Taylor tries to figure out who's behind Justin's murder. It's sort of like an action novel combined with paranormal combined with a whodunit. And it's done so well that all of it fits together perfectly! Kudos to Bryony Pearce for that. There are so many things in this book that totally shocked me, and that I never saw coming. Especially towards the end. Seriously, guys, this is a can't-miss. If you love action or mystery or romance or paranormal (let's face it, that's pretty much all of you, right?) you have got to read this one. I for one am really hoping for a sequel, because I just cannot be left hanging like that!

*Thank you to Strange Chemistry for sending an ARC for review*

Rating: 4.5/5

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