Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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

Synopsis from Amazon:

Stripped of his memories and told he is a criminal of the worst kind, sorcerer Lorrek must commit one last dark deed to earn back his memories. However, he has no idea his target is family or that he is about to step into a war between advanced technology and ancient magic.
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: (Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Excellent Worldbuilding/Driving Plot)
Dawn of Steam Trilogy--Jeffrey Cook
      -First Light
      -Gods of The Sun
      -Rising Suns   
Punk Anthologies--Jeffrey Cook et al.
      -Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 1: Sound & Fury
      -Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 2: Once More Unto The Breach
The Grave Reports--R. R. Virdi
        -Grave Beginnings
        -Grave Measures 

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