Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reader's Review: "I Still Have A Soul" by Kelly Blanchard

Synopsis from Amazon:

What if humanity was a classification given to some but not others?

Vixen, a former assassin, becomes entangled in an elaborate game of war, broadcasted to the masses as entertainment. While fighting for the freedom of the Guardians, soldiers classified as non-human, she is hunted by a Guardian she considered a friend—Prince Lorrek.

With an order to kill Vixen, the sorcerer Lorrek enters a battle pitting magic and medieval weapons against highly advanced technology. If only he realized what Vixen meant to him.

Will Lorrek remember before it is too late?

Will the Guardians ever be considered human?

My Review:

She did it again! Holy smokes, she did it again! 
Sometimes it happens when the first book in a series is so wide and sweeping, the second must dither about the slow, building and maneuvering that goes on so that the third book can be a sweeping finish.
Blanchard doesn't mess around with all that. Things are happening now, almost too quickly for the heroes to keep up! Lorrek is mostly incorporeal—enough to keep him alive, but occasionally he becomes solid again. Roskelem's wanton and uncontrolled magic has robbed him of his memories. Verddra has stolen a kingdom for herself and has set her sights on that of Lorrek's brother, turning everyone against Jechorm to distract them from her maneuvering. 
Jechorm itself is in a state of high agitation, as they are preparing for the gladiator-style slaughter of many Guardians—particularly those deemed a threat to the Senate. Of course, since Vixen happens to be in Jechorm at the time anyway, this leads to her convincing the other Houses of thieves and assassins to side with the rebel Guardians and fight with them instead of joining the Hunters who are allowed to kill them. Little does she know, someone is intent on tracking her down, someone who is known as one of the most powerful magic-users in the world; someone who has been convinced that killing her would return his stolen memories: Lorrek.

I love everything about this book, including the pervading theme of family throughout. There is nothing siblings and parents alike will not do for their families. The lengths these brothers go to defend and save each other is a glorious thing. Also the definite moral stance that marks the difference between the heroes and the villains: the heroes use their powers and abilities to preserve people, while the villains invariably choose to use people to preserve their powers and abilities. It's an important lesson, and played out very well!

It's complex and relentless and broad and explosive all at once. I thought it was beautiful in the first book when Kelly brought the book's title, "Someday I'll Be Redeemed," to bear on the plot in a massively powerful way. She does it again here, because what do the heroes intend to prove to the ones who seek to control and oppress them? The Guardians, the thieves and assassins, and even Lorrek himself, all vying to prove that they "Still Have A Soul." Conversely, what do the villains like Roskelem and Verddra have in common? They have traded their souls, it seems, in the pursuit of more power.

I am an ardent fan of this series! I STILL HAVE A SOUL gets *****5 STARS***** all the way, and once again achieved an Upstream Writer Certified HEARTILY RECOMMENDED endorsement. For intricate plots full of characters you will adore, set in a world that is breathtaking in its scope and wonderful in its conception and development, and a plot that carries you high in energy clear to the last page—The Chronicles of Lorrek wins all the way!

Further Reading: (Also By The Author/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Excellent World-building/Driving Plot)
The Chronicles of Lorrek--Kelly Blanchard
        -Someday I'll Be Redeemed 
        -I Still Have A Soul (*This book)
        -I'm Still Alive 
        -Do You Trust Me? 
        -You Left Me No Choice 
Dawn of Steam Trilogy--Jeffrey Cook
      -First Light
      -Gods of The Sun
      -Rising Suns   
Punk Anthologies--Writerpunk Press Group
      -Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 1 
      -Once More Unto The Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 2 
      -What We've Unlearned: Classic Literature Goes Punk 

The Grave Reports--R. R. Virdi
        -Grave Beginnings
        -Grave Measures
        -Grave Tidings (novella)
        -Grave Dealings 

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