Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Souls to Keep by Gary A. Caruso

Our Souls to Keep
by Gary A. Caruso
Publication Date: April 11th 2013
Publisher: Inertia Publishing
Source: Author
Find This Book: Our Souls to Keep
Rating: 3/5

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The concept of this book revolves around the rules of Heaven and Hell. Particularly around the idea that Heaven and Hell work together and that Satan picks up God’s “trash”. Anyone who commits murder or suicide goes to hell and the tortures included. With the depression and suicide we see in society I thought this was a bit distasteful, but it made for an interesting notion. Even the purest soul will be tainted and damned just because they took their own life. This brings us to the plot of our story. Demons go around manipulating people into taking their own life in order to collect their souls for Satan. A demon named Nevin collected Wake’s (our main character) mother’s soul and Wake made a deal with the demon to kill himself in exchange for his mother’s soul’s safety. This leads us to Wake the half human half demon collecting other human’s souls for Satan in order to keep his mother safe. However, the game completely changes when he falls in love with his biggest target yet. Annemarie, the pregnant girl with a sacred child.

Keep in mind that I was not originally drawn to the story, however I certainly found myself enjoying it even with my criticism below.  

One thing I didn’t particularly like but didn’t really affect the story too much was how quickly Wake reverted back to acting like a human. He’d had all memories taken away from him as well as human emotions, but at the slightest doubt in his contract he started acting human again? I think it would have been better if Wake was swamped by the emotional overload and struggled between the human that he was and the demon life he has now. Instead it seemed more like a “whelp, I’m human now and my mother can’t be saved so I’m just going to let her rot in the fiery pits of hell while I fall in love and try to live my own life, no biggie.” It just seems like he made these huge life-changing decisions too fast and never looked back to doubt his choice.

The description in this book was quite interesting to say the least. For example, the “sunset clouds thick like boiling carrot soup”. I’ve never had carrot soup so I can’t testify how thick it is but comparing clouds to soup to begin with I just found odd, but in a good way. Descriptions like so led to a certain unique charm.

Another good quality of the book was its humor. The budding friendship between Wake and the angel Gabriel was quite amusing and gave the book a little hope. Even with the heaven/hell battle happening in the background the character’s had their light-hearted cute scenes as well. Our Souls to Keep had a Romeo & Juliet feel to it, including an unnecessary (in my opinion) romantic scene right before the climax. About to be attacked by demons, Annemarie and Wake decide to have their first kiss? They need to straighten their priorities.

Lastly, I want to brush on the topic of character development. While I thought some of Wake’s decisions were a bit rushed, his character and defining personality were well thought out and developed. Satan, Nevin and Wake seemed to be the only characters who weren’t shallow. Everyone else only made extremely brief appearances to aid Wake or give him important information before they died (Wake’s brother and the girl hunter for example). There were so many minor characters killed off I can’t even tell you all of their names. Yes, it’s a demon-killing book, but as a reader I can’t become attached and car about somebody dying when they’ve only been on a couple pages. The same thing happening multiple times just made it kind of bland. Annemarie wasn’t as bad, but her constant description was being innocent and pure. I just wish we’d gotten to see more about her and her backstory instead of her just being a pure love interest for a damned demon.

So overall, the novel had a great concept, the writer had an interesting writing style, but it just seemed under developed. I would have liked more depth to the characters and plot, but it was a fine read the way it was.

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