I had the pleasure of meeting author Stuart Jaffe at LibertyCon 2013 this year. Some of you may have read my postmortem on that trip where I talked about some friends and myself hanging out with him into the small hours of the night. Many of us picked up his books and me in particular, I snatched up “A Glimpse of Her Soul.” This particular book is his foray into the YA scene in what he calls a Dark Fantasy novel.
A blurb of the book taken from his Amazon page:
Gillian is an ordinary teenager trying to navigate high school. But when a horrific, supernatural creature murders a student, Gillian learns she stands next on the list.
Now she must unravel the arcane mystery while surviving attacks from bizarre monstrosities. Her struggle leads her into a world hiding just beneath the curtain of our own – an underworld of vicious creatures and dark magic. A world in which her own family is not what they appear. One where her only savior may be her deadliest enemy.
She better come up with answers soon because more than one life hangs in jeopardy.
Filled with action and excitement, intrigue and mystery, A Glimpse of Her Soul is a pulse-pounding ride that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final chapter.
The reason I chose this book is because of the work I’m doing for my own YA novel. It’s always fun to see what other authors are doing in your genre.
Stuart Jaffe’s “A Glimpse of Her Soul” doesn’t wait for you to catch up. It kicks off with the paranormal and keeps on rolling until the very end. He builds off a solid trope and creates a really unique experience in the monsters he’s named Callers. Creatures from the realm of Spirit that take on twisted forms of earthly things. Here he let his imagination run wild and it really pays. They range from a sadistic Bamboo Samurai to a living feather boa. Allowing himself to go to the absurd really payed off.
I believe young readers will enjoy the fast pace of the novel. For my tastes, however, I would have preferred he slowed it down a bit. There were some relationships that I would have liked to see explored more in depth. The denouement felt especially rushed compared to the other parts of the book. Just as the climax has finished we’re reading the last few pages. I was left with wanting to see more of the aftermath of such a physically and mentally destructive experience. It felt like a marathon workout without a cool down.
Stuart Jaffe has set himself up for a decent trilogy. The main character Gillian Boone didn’t have much time to flex her powers in this book, but I can see her becoming a force of her own in future novels. And she’s a great character for tween to teenage girls to latch onto. He does a great job of nabbing that age range. She’s moody, easily distracted, and takes out her frustration on those around her. Which really sounds like teens in general.
If you’re looking for a fast read with some unique monsters, then this is the book for you.