Soul Hosts: A High Fantasy X-Men Tale That Really Delivers Something New
Soul Hosts by Joseph Isaacs
So to begin with the review I must have a disclaimer in this review. I am a small time writer who has self-published various works and one facet of my editing process is workshopping with others on the online writing community Scribophile. It operates off of a karma points system to motivate everyone to read each other works. And here I read and help to edit some drafts of Joesph Isaacs earlier chapters of Soul Hosts and talked to him through various messages over the course of roughly a year. So I know this author more personally more than any other author I ever reviewed. I will try to not be biased in any way in this review but the reader should know this review is a slightly different than others I wrote. And I want to get that out there. Anyways since I wanted to read the ending I decided to support a fellow small author and read his book. So this is the review of Soul Hosts by Joseph Isaacs and here is my review.
The story takes place in a traditional high fantasy world and in this world sixteen years prior to the story’s events, there was a ritual gone wrong and a bunch of magician’s were murdered. But their souls were still tied to the world so they scattered taking refuge in newborns across the land. Then fast forward to a fifteen year old orphan boy named Wayden, who starts hearing voice in his head. First he believes he’s going mad, but soon learns it is a second soul that inhabits him. It is the soul of Kohlram, a beast tongue (A magi who can control animals). Wayden learns to builds friendship with the magician and finds that he can channel Kohlram’s magic. Soon he learns a new boy at the orphanage also possesses a magi soul. They become friends and have dreams of becoming heroes but when something terrible happens and two (Or should I say four) use magic to save lives, the Dacon (King of Hellios, their home) takes special interest in the boys and wants to use them to his own means.
From there on out the world opens up. There is a tense stand still cold war between two lands. More soul hosts are introduced. Each has different magical abilities from all walks of life. And their lives all intersect in grand finale as the Dracon and his sworn enemy tries to use all these teenagers to their own means.
So the good? First of all this a perfect tale of epic things that can come from small beginnings. It starts with an orphan boy trying to make sense of a voice in his head and develops into tale to stop the end of the world. How something so grand can develop from something so simple was a pleasant surprise. The characters are great. They all (but one) have unique personalities and backstories. They also are extremely likable and it’s really great to see them both their in personal struggle and their fight to stop Dracon’s plan. Also another thing I liked was this book was its not afraid to be different. Ninety five percent of books in this genre have old traditional monsters and races such as orcs, elves, dwarves and what not. This world has a dragon, but the races and creatures are all new. There's amphibian like people called Mantu. The dark skin Tulkarians. The underground dwelling monsters called the Scagazi. The large sharp tooth orc like Ozacs. They really make the world see different and original. Also there is a twist about a third from the end with one of the characters that is fantastic and really elevates the whole story of the novel. Also the epic action toward the end is spectacularly well done. Oh and there’s no real love triangle which is a relief with books with teenager leads.
The bad? The detail is a little uneven. It’s fantastic in so many areas, but is lacking in some scenes that needed it. Esmeralda is soul host who does not get as much attention the others do. Her powers are not clearly explained until later on. And where everyone has this detailed well explored backstory, there is almost nothing revealed about Esmerelda, which is a shame. I wanted to know more about her. Also oddly enough four of the seven soul host characters have a daddy issues plot line, which is a little weird.
Overall, the book is a delightful read. When it begins it may feel like a run of the mill high fantasy version of young adult novel, but about a third in it really does become something really unique and special. This really is worth the read and would recommend this to everyone.
Overall Rating: A high fantasy X-Men tale that really delivers something new.
3 ½ smoothies out of four