Book of Souls
Published: February 9, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.
People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.
Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.
I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—
I uncover a secret from the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.
I am something else.
Rating: 5 stars
Book of Souls by Nadine Nightingale is a pretty intense read for a few reasons. I’m pretty picky about books that modernize the stories of ancient civilizations and gods. This doesn’t stop me from hoping that the next one I pick up will be awesome. I’m glad that I don’t stop hoping, though, because Book of Souls was seriously good.
First, the intensity. Strangely enough, Nightingale lets the reader know exactly who her characters are long before they figure it out…but it doesn’t seem to take away from the story at all, because the story isn’t the characters’ history. Nightingale takes the story of the Egyptian gods and she builds on it. What if Romeo and Juliet got another life, another chance? What if Mercutio loved Juliet, too?
Paranormal aspects aside, Nightingale delves deep into the horrors that is being an outcast in high school. She touches on suicide, depression, and questioning reality through the role of Nisha, the FMC. The pain that Nisha is in from everything going on in her life as well as the bullying at school bleeds through the pages and into the reader. Her emotions and lack of self-esteem aren’t ignored and glossed over, as you can find in many books that claim to address these issues. Nightingale doesn’t romanticize suicidal ideations, but she doesn’t ostracize them, either. They are simply presented as a part of the reaction of Nisha to life. There is no judgment. It’s a refreshing look at mental health, PTSD, and depression because it is truly something many writers seem to struggle with.
As Nisha grows and her ancient past starts to overlap and influence her present, she becomes more vibrant of a character. While all this really delicious paranormal stuff is going on, we still get a taste of the young adult angst that makes the genre so appealing. Nisha is a complex character of strength and vulnerability, confidence and self-loathing. Surrounded by a cast of villains and allies, Nightingale allows Nisha to grow as a character without having her outstrip her counterparts. She is still the awkward victim of bullying who barely makes it through the day and clings to the reassurances she gets from her friends and family.
The ending is definitely well-written and not wholly unexpected. There is a bit of a cliffhanger (you know…if Angel Falls is a tiny stream). But no worries! Book 2 is out, now. I am excited to see more growth in Nisha as she accepts her ancient past, but also to see how Blaze and the others deal with the revelations while Nisha isn’t around. There are a few areas that should come with a warning (suicidal ideation, bullying, assault), but they aren’t a major part of the story and move by pretty quickly. Grab your copy of this amazing reincarnation of Egyptian gods, goddesses, and their loyal followers.