Cover Image: Soultaker

Soultaker

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Member Reviews

I had two attempts at reading hoping that it would improve but in the end I just gave up.
The story was slow and confusing, the characters were one dimensional and the storyline just did not improve.
This was not for me.
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Soultaker is a perfect blend of a variety of genre fiction or at least sub genres of Science Fiction. The setting is overtly post apocalyptic, complete with religious fundamentalists and desert landscapes, it has a techno fantasy aspect with the ostentatious guns and magical weaponry, but also the adventurous nature of a fantasy book. That coupled with a good portion of horror. The tale keeps the readers on their toes at all time and would clearly be categorized as a page turner. Duperre manages to perfectly blend the wild west style of storytelling with the science fiction backdrop. The Knights Eternal believe in a religion called Pentmatarianism, an apparent off shoot of older religions in the world. They also encounter the scourgers’ faith in Yehoshua, which causes them some confusion. There is a lot of depth in Soultaker and it takes some unexpected turns. It is a great example of what genre fiction can do.
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I admit it: The cover art snagged me. It just looks like a thrilling sci-fi adventure cover. There’s one of the Knights Eternal in his armor, with his railgun, ready for action. Mr. Duperre’s writing lives up to the promise of the cover.

Soultaker takes place about a thousand years after the apocalyptic "Rising" event wiped out modern civilization. Three "brothers" comprise the Knights Eternal who keep the peace in the Wasteland and try to maintain the civilization that is centered in Sal Yaddo. The knights are generated through some unknown artificial means and incarnate as adults. Their missions are based on cryptic instructions from an oracle.

We meet our three protagonists, Shade, Meesh, and Abe, on a mission pursuing the religious fanatic Cooper, who is traveling the Wasteland putting together an army of Outriders. The oracle’s message isn’t very clear, so the knights don’t know if they’re supposed to help or stop Cooper. The knights have their own personal issues that aren’t helping: Meesh is being impetuous, Shade is moody and taciturn, and Abe is seeing things that aren’t there. And, of course, there are demons pushing their way into the world and causing mayhem.

I loved the pacing of this story. It starts off with a big fight scene in a tavern–a kick-ass start that grabbed me right away. There’s plenty of action and well-done fight scenes that kept me reading long past when I should have gone to bed. There were a couple of info dumps dropped into the action, including a Bond-villian-esque scene where the antagonist explains the whole plan, but most of the story felt organic.

Out of the three main characters, Abe had the most depth and believability. Shade had depth, but he could switch from blood enemy to warm compadre a bit faster than I could believe. Meesh was mostly two dimensional, but this story didn’t really focus much on him. His best parts were mostly in combat.

Soultaker has a great premise and fast-paced action. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
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Soultaker, by Robert J. Duperre, at its very core is a good story, though some of the other elements of the book may make that hard to see.

What I didn’t like:

The story moves slow in the beginning. Really slow. It’s not only the speed of the story either, it kind of wanders a little. I’m lead from place to place never knowing if anything that I’m reading is ever going to have a place anytime down the road.

Some of the characters were hard to get used to. I’m looking at you, Meesh. He’s one of the knights, and therefore a main character, but he’s really annoying. He lays down a constant barrage of crude jokes, which I’m normally game for, but his just weren’t funny. And he called everyone ‘brah’ all the time. Yes, it was spelled that way. Every time. To be fair, I think he’s supposed to be annoying, but it gets so intense at certain points that it pulled me out of the story.

The writing felt a little clumsy. There were times when it was difficult to tell who was talking, or who was making one action or another. I also noticed some repetition where the prose to describe a past event, and then a character would describe the very same event, using very similar words.

I have no idea why it was called Soultaker. A small quibble, I know. Still, I feel like someone should be able to ask me, “Hey, why’s it called Soultaker?” and I’d say something like, “There’s this guy that takes souls. They call him the Soultaker.” But, no. Nothing obvious, anyway. I could make some guesses through vague interpretations, but when it comes to the title, seems like it should be spoon fed.

What I liked:

The story really together by the end. Despite the speed it moved in the beginning, by the end I found myself turning the pages a lot faster, and I was very satisfied with the conclusion.

The world. Post-apocalyptic is such a wide open concept. Since it’s never happened (that we know of) there’s no right or wrong. Soultaker uses an interesting mix of archaic, modern day, future-tech, and magic to create the world and characters of Soultaker. Everything is a mixture of the fantastic and the familiar.

The end of Soultaker was clear in saying that there would be a lot more to the story. And though I had a few issues with it, I feel invested in the world and the characters and I’d certainly read future sequels.
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