Having just been published four days before the start of this year’s competition, The Soul’s Abyss has 0 ratings and 0 reviews on Goodreads. I love this kind of thing because this is where the competition can be a big help in bringing attention to an ‘unknown’ book.
Souls’ Abyss by SC Gowland
- Genre: Epic
- POVs: Dual: older male magic wielder and his magic-wielding daughter
- Magic: Present but not Central
- Read: 100%
- Status: Alive
- Review: Esme
Generally speaking, I tend to gravitate towards older characters because it’s easier for me to relate to them. Right away I felt that this was going to be ‘me’ kind of book since it features a darker world juxtaposed by flawed but well-meaning characters. I’m also a sucker for animal companions, especially cats, as well as magic taking a central part of the story. This ticked so many of my boxes I was pretty excited.
Kaoldan is in his mid-forties, he belongs to the order known as the Walkers, and is overall a decent person. He has a giant Panthera mount that he was given and bonded to as a child. He’s also got a dog named Dref who is adorable. His Walkerblade is able to change shape at his will and glows green.
There are cities being attacked by shapeshifting monster-things and the Duke wants answers. Where they are coming from? Is someone is sending them specifically to his countryside, if so, why? The duke sends his daughter along with Kaoldan and some other Walkers to go investigate and bring back answers. What they find are ravaged towns and hints that someone/something called Reng may be returning. It’s believed that he is just a scary story to tell kids, but, all signs are pointing to the fact he’s real and coming back
I was beginning to feel at around 20% that Kaoldan maybe was a little too ‘good’. I get bored when a character is flawless – but, eventually, it became clear the dude has some issues, including a temper problem.
The writing style and descriptors used were better suited to my taste than other entries so far. I don’t tend to respond to visual descriptors because I have difficulties coming up with clear pictures in my head. I do respond well to a mixed variety of descriptions that use scents, sounds, tastes, and emotional descriptors eg: “He had a warm smile”.
Fajin is this world’s magic, some people have it and others don’t. In order to be a Walker, you need to be able to use magic proficiently. Walkers are divided into different ranks designated by color. Green Walkers are guardians, and there are also Red, Black, Grey, etc each wearing a cloak that matches their designation. They are a shrinking order, there used to be thousands and now there are roughly five hundred. When people die their souls become visible, turn into orbs and float into the sky, giving battlegrounds a beautiful kind of horror.
This one started off very strong but started to wander shortly before the middle of the book, and there was an increase in the number of punctuation, formatting, and grammar errors the further I got into the book. The ending left many things open ended and didn’t feel like a solid conclusion, but more like a placeholder. I don’t mind having a few things open ended, or a big overall plotline that contiues after the first book. But, having the last couple paragraphs end with a note of uncertainty and openness bugs me a bit. All of these things dragged down the score from what could have been my first 8/10 of the contest so far. That said, it’s still in the race as it was entertaining and imaginative. Others may not be annoyed with the ending the way I was.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World-Building: 13/15
- Writing: 11/15
- Pacing: 10/15
- Originality: 12/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 7.5/10
Final Score: 76.5/100